Lefty allows three runs, but scores three while notching two hits in his second win of the season
By Nick Suss
PHILADELPHIA -- Environmental activists preach the value of offsetting your carbon footprint. Every time you do something environmentally harmful, you should try to do something enriching to nullify the adverse effects.
If the environment were a baseball game, carbon emissions would be runs. And in Friday night's 12-4 win over the Phillies, Tyler Lyons' carbon footprint would have been zero.
Lyons didn't have a bad day working his day job, allowing seven hits and three runs in five innings, striking out five and earning his second win of the season. The three runs came on Ryan Howard's home run in the fifth. But it was what he did on offense that made his day all the more impressive.
The pitcher entered Friday's game commanding a .120 lifetime batting average with three hits and zero runs scored. He nearly doubled his hit total and in doing so set a new career mark for runs scored every time he batted, going 2-for-2 with his first career RBI, a walk and three runs.
Both of Lyons' hits came with two strikes, a situation where he said he thrives due to his offensive approach.
"With two strikes, though, I am definitely trying to shorten up, at least slap at it, see if I can't at least put it in play, and after that hopefully get lucky," Lyons said.
When a pitcher makes three trips around the bases, there is always a concern that he might be fatigued when he steps back on the mound for the next inning. But to Lyons, he said he would rather take the runs if it comes with feeling a little gassed. Manager Mike Matheny took this idea a little further. He said knowing how hard Lyons works, he didn't think running poses any problem.
"He's a good athlete," Matheny said. "He moves well, he's one of the faster guys we have on our entire club. He works a lot in the weight room. I watch him doing his post-start routine, and there's a lot of running. It shouldn't be an issue with him."
As for what he did on the mound, Lyons said he never felt 100 percent comfortable with his stuff but said he was fortunate to be able to work out of some difficult situations, including when a single, an error and a walk loaded the bases for the top of the Phillies' order in the second inning.
Matheny echoed those sentiments.
"It got a little hairy a couple of times, and he was able to pitch his way through it, which is something he hasn't been able to do in the past," Matheny said. "I think that's a great sign."
As great of a sign as it may have been to see Lyons pitch the way he did, his offensive output arguably turned more heads than his pitching Friday. And with the recent proliferation of hitters being asked to pitch and pitchers being asked to hit, Lyons' ability to shorten up with two strikes might have served as an audition to be a pinch-hitter in the future.
Well, maybe things won't go that far.
"We might be stretching for that one," Lyons said. "I've probably got a lot more work to do before that happens."
Nick Suss is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.