Social media is a big deal to professional sports teams these days. It can do a lot of good in terms of enhancing a team's brand, but there are certain pitfalls with social media as well.
Teams and leagues go to painstaking efforts in 2012 to educate their players on what to do and, a thousand times more importantly, what not to do on social media. What to avoid tweeting, what to not put on Facebook. One ill-advised tweet can do a variety of damage to reputations, to a brand, to a clubhouse.
However, I'm fairly certain they don't have a similar symposium for siblings of players. Maybe they should.
Meet Justin Lyles, brother of Astros starting pitcher Jordan Lyles!
You can find Justin Lyles on Twitter (assuming you'd want to follow the brother of a sometimes MLB, sometimes minor league pitcher, and really, who wouldn't?) at @J_Lyles7, and if you were following him this morning, you would have seen this gem:
"Can the astros provide run support for @JordanLyles41 tonight? 4 runs combined in last 3 outings"
Can the astros provide run support for @JordanLyles41 tonight? 4 runs combined in last 3 outings
— Justin Lyles (@J_Lyles7) June 26, 2012
In case you didn't have your "Pitching Probables" chart in front of you, or in case you've lost interest in the Astros, Jordan Lyles is starting tonight against the San Diego Padres. So with that in mind, let's evaluate the Twitter commentary of Lyles's brother, Justin.
First, the only thing worse than a starting pitcher with a 3-12 career record and virtually no equity in a Major League clubhouse tweeting publicly about the lack of run support his team is providing is the brother of a starting pitcher with a 3-12 career record and virtually no equity in a Major League clubhouse tweeting publicly about the lack of run support his brother's team is providing. And frankly, if Jordan Lyles's locker and everything in it aren't covered in athletic tape when he arrives at the ballpark today, then frankly, the entire Astros lineup is dead to me.
Second, while Justin Lyles is correct that the Astros haven't exactly been the '27 Yankees during his brother's starts, the stats tell us that even above-average run support wouldn't have gotten the job done anyway! In the three starts in question, Jordan Lyles's stats look like this:
June 9 at Chicago White Sox (L, 10-1): 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 0 K June 15 at Texas (L, 6-2): 4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K June 20 vs Kansas City (L, 2-1): 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K
The composite stats? 0-3 record, 5.17 ERA, 1.468 WHIP, 1.000 K/BB
Um, yeah, Justin. The Astros offense was the problem.
It's funny how the most recent memory governs our perception. Jordan Lyles was great his last time out, this past Wednesday against the Royals, and he lost a hard-fought 2-1 decision. The other two games he was anywhere from mediocre to brutal. In fact, his already hefty 4.97 ERA before those three games actually rose to 5.04, even with the quality start against the Royals.
I appreciate Justin Lyles having his brother's back. Loyalty, even familial loyalty, these days is not the easiest thing to come by. But before Justin Lyles tweets about the Astros offense behind his brother, he needs to do some research. Or at least follow it up with a nice brotherly crack back, like:
"Of course it would help if my brother could get out of the 5th inning more than once every three starts."
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See, now THAT'S solid analysis! And pretty damn funny!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.