The Astros had high expectations for Jordan Lyles when they took him in the first round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. The right-hander moved quickly through the Minors, debuting as a 20-year-old in '11.
Lyles, now 22, has not tasted much success at the big league level since then, with a career 5.22 ERA. That includes a 5.40 mark in five outings this season, but Lyles has been solid his last two times on the mound.
Lyles, who will take the ball against the Rockies on Tuesday afternoon, has held the opposition to two earned runs in 11 innings over that span. Astros manager Bo Porter said he expects Lyles to continue to pitch well.
"I believe he will," Porter said. "Jordan Lyles has shown signs of being the guy we believe he can be. He's had a couple of starts that haven't been so good, but I believe he has the stuff to be a front-of-the-rotation starter, and we're going to give him every opportunity to prove that."
Lyles will square off against Jorge De La Rosa as the teams wrap up a brief two-game set at Minute Maid Park, which precedes their two games at Coors Field. The Astros took a 12-inning walk-off win on Monday, snapping a three-game losing streak and handing the Rockies their third straight defeat.
De La Rosa (6-3, 3.40 ERA) has allowed one or no runs in three of his four starts this month, winning all four. On Wednesday, he held the D-backs to one run on six hits over 5 1/3 innings, throwing a season-high 103 pitches.
The left-hander is now about two years removed from Tommy John surgery, and he feels he's closing in on the form he showed in winning 16 games in 2009, his last full season.
"I'm there," De La Rosa said after his most recent outing. "I think I can get a little more strength in my arm, but I can't complain. My velocity is very good right now, and my breaking stuff is working. I'm glad to feel the way I feel right now."
Rockies: Cuddyer still on the mend
Outfielder Michael Cuddyer returned from the disabled list this past weekend, only to be hit by a pitch on his right wrist on Sunday.
The veteran didn't start on Monday but was summoned as a pinch-hitter and logged two plate appearances in the Rockies' 3-2, 12-inning loss.
"I was wanting to stay away from Cuddy, but he was swinging during the game and convinced me that he was OK," manager Walt Weiss said. "For me, he was going to be a last resort. ... He's doing well, but it's still swollen. It's always tough when you have an injury down around your hand or your wrist. That makes it difficult to swing the bat."
Astros: Struggling Carter gets rest
Chris Carter did not play on Monday, a decision Porter made mostly to get Trevor Crowe into the lineup, but also because Carter has been struggling. The 26-year-old is 8-for-42 (.190) with one double, no homers and 20 strikeouts over his past 12 games.
For the season, Carter leads the Majors with 74 strikeouts while hitting .219 with a .302 on-base percentage.
"He's figuring out himself and the league and what they're trying to do to him," Porter said. "We know the power potential is there. You do want more consistent contact as time goes on, and Chris is going to get all those things figured out, and we're going to be patient and allow him to figure those things out."
• Todd Helton, who was out of Monday's lineup, entered the day with a .357 career average at Minute Maid Park, his highest at any stadium where he has at least 50 at-bats. He also has eight homers and 24 RBIs there, although he's currently stuck in a 3-for-26 slump.
• The Astros have a 30-12 record against the Rockies at Minute Maid Park, Houston's best against any opponent at the stadium.