If Aaron Judge were picking a pitcher to face as he tries to snap a tie with Roger Maris for the most home runs by an American League batter in a single season, he could do a lot worse than Jordan Lyles, a right-hander who is scheduled to start for the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.
Lyles, 31, is in his 12th major league season and while he has finally been given the opportunity to start full time, with more than 30 starts in each of the last two seasons, that has resulted in a lot of balls leaving the park.
In 2021, Lyles led the majors by giving up 38 homers, which helped contribute to an ugly 5.15 E.R.A. He has been a little better this season, with 25 homers allowed and a 4.55 E.R.A., but two of those homers came against — you guessed it — Judge. The homers, which both came on May 23, were Nos. 16 and 17 of the season for Judge, and they traveled a combined distance of 823 feet. It should be noted that Lyles and Baltimore won that game.