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Game Preview: Lyles vs. Perez

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Can Jordan Lyles stay hot and win the opener of this two game set against the Texas Rangers?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

As some sort of toxic plague sweeps through the Rockies clubhouse (along with assorted other injuries) the roster is taking a major pummeling. Wilin Rosario and Josh Rutledge have already had to be DL'ed, and supposedly a number of other players are feeling sick as well.

<div class="pane sports_data_widget lineup clearfix sidebar">
<h3>Today's Lineups</h3>
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<th align="left">TEXAS RANGERS</th>
<th align="left">COLORADO ROCKIES</th>
<tr><td class="td-last td-name">Shin-Soo Choo - LF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Brandon Barnes - RF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Josh Wilson - 2B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Drew Stubbs - CF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Adrian Beltre - 3B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Troy Tulowitzki - SS</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Prince Fielder - 1B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Carlos Gonzalez - LF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Alex Rios - RF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Nolan Arenado - 3B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">R. Chirinos - C</td><td class="td-first td-name">Justin Morneau - 1B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Leonys Martin - CF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Jordan Pacheco - C</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Elvis Andrus - SS</td><td class="td-first td-name">DJ LeMahieu - 2B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Martin Perez - LHP</td><td class="td-first td-name">Jordan Lyles - RHP</td></tr></tbody>
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The Rockies' hurler today is the indomitable Jordan Lyles, aka Ly Young. With injuries to Tyler Chatwood, Jhoulys Chacin, and Brett Anderson, along with bouts of ineffectiveness from virtually everyone else, Lyles's steady hand has been absolutely crucial. Lyles's 2.70 ERA obviously leads the club, and while his strikeout numbers are underwhelming, he has been keeping the ball on the ground. I keep expecting the other shoe to drop with Lyles, but thus far it has remained resolutely in the air.

The Rockies are going righty-heavy tonight against lefty Martin Perez. Outfielders Brandon Barnes and Drew Stubbs both get starts in the outfield and at the top of the lineup, something that hasn't happened before. Perhaps it's just an off day for Charlie Blackmon (who has quietly slumped the past week), perhaps he's ill along with everyone else, or perhaps Walt Weiss just wants to keep the righties involved. Either way, they have histories of success against lefties, so I don't dislike it. Good defense at the very least.

Justin Morneau is again at first. Speaking of guys who could probably use an off day...but while Cuddyer is down there's basically no one to plug in there (except for Jordan Pacheco...who is tethered to catcher while Wilin is puking his guts out. Man, what a mess).

As for Perez, he's having a fantastic year with a 2.95 ERA and an even better FIP. That's due to not allowing a single home run yet in 2014. Hopefully some of Colorado's sluggers can change that narrative.

Shin Soo Choo and Alex Rios are having excellent years, but the rest of the Rangers' lineup is struggling thus far, especially the big (ha ha) new acquisition Prince Fielder. Hell, they have Josh Wilson batting second, he of the career .279 OBP. That's terrible!

The Rockies are entering a crucial stage of the season, and doing so with severely limited personnel. I usually hold off on bemoaning injuries while both Cargo and Tulo are healthy, but it has still been a brutal week. Just gotta take it one game at a time.