It's been a busy 24 hours in Houston transactions. Jordan Lyles was called up to start Sunday's game opposite Bronson Arroyo, with Matt Downs optioned to Triple-A to make room for him. Carlos Lee was also placed on the disabled list, with Brett Wallace touching down at 9:30 a.m. this morning in Houston and penciled into the starting lineup 90 minutes later at first base.
Let's take this one thing at a time:
Lyles - We expected as much. He threw an extended bullpen session this week in OKC, but was basically on the big roster for his last two starts without actually being there in the meantime. This will be the final time Houston uses these roster tricks for a while, though, as Lyles will stick in the five-man rotation for the foreseeable future according to Mills. That gives everyone an extra day of rest plus another day because of Monday's off day.
That's not only a good thing for Bud Norris with his hip flexor problem, but it's a good thing for everyone to have a little bit of a break. The four main starters this season were on pace to start 37 games each. Only 11 pitchers in Houston franchise history have started 37 or more games. So, yeah, they could use a break.
Downs - I want to touch on this later in the week (or maybe Tim aka "Matt Downs Is My Hero" can), but the reasoning Mills gave before Sunday's game was that Downs needed to get at-bats. Last season, he had plenty of playing time opportunities with a gaping hole at second base and CJ struggling at third. Now? I don't think he's playing over Altuve or CJ.
Where does that leave him? Stealing the occasional start on off-days or at first base for Lee? He didn't look great fielding at first on Saturday, but that's a tiny sample size. I'm sure he could helped by playing regularly down in Triple-A, but does he get called back up? The problems Mills talked about aren't going away, unless both of those players go in horrible slumps. So, we may not see Downsie for quite a while.
Lee/Wallace - Seeing Lee limp off the field Friday night, it didn't appear this was going to be a quick recovery, and that's borne out by this DL trip. What's slightly surprising is that Houston called up Brett Wallace and started him so quickly at first.
I mean, they've got a guy with first base experience on the team in Brian Bogusevic and they could have just moved CJ over to first and started Matt Downs. But, instead of all that, they're seeing what they have in Brick for this new front office. I wonder if he'll be platooned with...well, there's not really a likely platoon partner on the roster, unless Mills moves CJ over there and starts Marwin at third.
Wallace has been hot for the RedHawks and I hope that continues in the majors. But, his callup was maybe the second-most surprising thing about these moves, after Downs being sent down.
What do you think? Everyone pretty happy with F-Mart playing regularly and Wallace getting another shot? Glad to see Lyles sticking with the big league team for a little while?