Well, the Astros did it. Some of you are probably saying this couldn't come too soon. Some of you are cynically saying that this is Ed Wade's last-ditch way of saving his job. Me, I'm not suprised, because I think this was the Astros plan all along.
Obviously, they didn't plan on Wandy Rodriguez getting hurt. But, I think the Astros were prepared to bring Lyles up at the first opportunity after the middle of May. They knew after spring training that Lyles would be the first player called up to go into the rotation, no matter that they had a couple of other guys at Oklahoma City who might be better suited to going into the rotation.
That didn't matter, though. I think the Astros thought that Lyles was ready to play in the big leagues out of Kissimmee. Whether it was due to money issues, wanting to avoid Super Two status, or just loyalty to the two guys ahead of him in the rotation (Nelson Figueroa and Aneury Rodriguez), they sent him down. But, they knew that he'd be tapped some time.
That time appears to be Tuesday, as Lyles will join the team this weekend before starting against the Cubs on Tuesday. I'm just not sure he's ready. As has been pointed out on this site before (by people smarter than me), Lyles has a pretty high hit rate and his strikeout rate has plummeted in Triple-A. His ERA looks good, but that could be an illusion. His home run rate is fairly low, and his batting average on balls in play is slightly below average at .309. He's also got his highest LOB percentage since he was at Lexington.
Maybe Lyles is just learning how to pitch. He's not walking batters, which is a good indication. He's probably going to take some lumps, so I guess the Astros figure it's time for him to take those lumps at the major league level. For better or worse, we'll see what the organization's top prospect has over the next few months. I hope that's a good thing.