Jordan Lyles is making his fifth start of the season for the Astros Sunday afternoon. For the first two months of the season, the Astros' schedule has allowed them to occasionally avoid using a fifth starter. In 53 games, Kyle Weiland, Lyles, and Aneury Rodriguez have combined to make only eight starts in 11 turns through the rotation. The schedule has allowed the club some flexibility, as they have not been forced to replace the injured Kyle Weiland permanently in the rotation, meaning pitchers like Lyles and Aneury Rodriguez have found themselves back on a plane for AAA after a short(one or two start) major league stint.
However, over the next five weeks, including today's contest, the Astros are scheduled to play 33 games. Barring rainouts, a fifth starter will be needed seven times, every time through the rotation. Between now and the All-Star break, the Astros need more than a spot starter to fill the #5 spot in their starting rotation. With his start today, Lyles is first in line to try to fill that role.