This is probably nothing. Or this could be something.
We’re leaning towards this Texas Rangers storyline amounting to nothing, but it is interesting that manager Chris Woodward and veteran starter Jordan Lyles have had some testy interactions with each other in 2021.
This latest situation occurred Wednesday night in a loss to the Houston Astros, in which Lyles, pulled after 4.1 innings and five runs allowed, tossed the ball into the dugout on his way out of the game, curiously as Woodward was readying to make a pitching change.
Do the Texas Rangers have a potential chemistry issue brewing?
Let’s just put it this way: a perfectly normal pitcher-manager relationship would result in the pitcher handing the ball to the manager on the mound, not tossing it towards the dugout, even if the ball was scuffed and Lyles was looking for a new one.
It’s just peculiar timing, and this wasn’t the first instance of Woodward and Lyles butting heads.
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Back in spring training, Lyles was reportedly “unhappy” with the Texas Rangers’ skipper for placing him in a tandem starter role (where a long reliever would piggy-back a starter), which is understandable given Lyles’ status on the team as a veteran starter.
Lyles, of course, has been pretty underwhelming most of his career. But on the Rangers, he’s one of the most experienced players and that holds value, even if not in the results category.
So that begs the original question: are Chris Woodward and Jordan Lyles actually feuding?
Our indication seems to be no, as the two incidents from spring training and Wednesday night in Houston are very likely unrelated.
However, knowing Lyles’ previous frustrations with Woodward does at least add some intrigue to the storyline and does raise another question about whether the Texas Rangers intend to trade Lyles by this July’s deadline. That’s a separate question, perhaps, but not entirely.
Either way, this team is playing bad baseball and at the end of the day, the Rangers are right to be frustrated. We can’t blame them for some tension boiling over.