Jordan Lyles Shelled Again As Pittsburgh Pirates Woes Continue
By Marty Leap
The Pittsburgh Pirates are stuck in one heck of a rut right now
As the July 31st trade deadline approaches, free agent to be Jordan Lyles is a player likely to be moved by the Pittsburgh Pirates. On Wednesday night, Lyles took the ball against the St. Louis Cardinals in what could be his penultimate, if not final, start with the Pirates.
Unfortunately, Lyles failed to raise his trade value, or give the Pirates a chance, in this start. He failed to get out of the 2nd inning as the Pirates were walloped by the Cardinals 14-8. This loss drops the Pirates post-break record to 2-10. Additionally, they’re now a season high nine games under .500 at 46-55.
For the second night in a row Starling Marte got the Pirates on the board in the 1st inning. After Adam Wainwright walked Adam Frazier and Corey Dickerson to start the inning, Marte singled up the middle. This hit scores Frazier and gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Following a 1-2-3 top of the 1st inning for Lyles, the wheels came off in the 2nd inning. After Paul Goldschmidt reached on a Kevin Newman error to start the inning, Lyles would get hammered.
Paul DeJong hit a home run, Kolten Wong and Yairo Munoz hit consecutive doubles, and Andrew Knitzer hit his first career home run. After Wainwright struck out, Tommy Edman walked and scored on a Dexter Fowler double. Lyles then got a much needed boost when Cabrera threw out Fowler attempting to score on a Jose Martinez single.
Goldschmidt would then put Lyles out of his misery by launching a 2-run home run. This made the score 8-2 Cardinals, and ended Lyles night after just 1 2/3 innings pitched.
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Lyles was looking to build upon his last start in which he allowed just 1 run in 5 2/3 innings of work. This was his first good start since mid-May. Unfortunately, he failed to do so.
After getting shelled on Wednesday night Lyles now owns a 5.36 ERA and a 4.81 FIP this season. In his last nine starts he has allowed 39 earned runs in 36 2/3 innings pitched (9.57 ERA) on 56 hits and 12 home runs. This poor stretch has destroyed all and any trade value Lyles had as the Pirates were hoping to move him before next Wednesday’s trade deadline.
Even if Lyles is not trade, he should not make another start for the Pirates. On top of the fact he’ll hit free agency after the season and is not part of the Pirates future, he is a bad starting pitcher. There is zero reason for Lyles to continue to make starts for the Pirates while Mitch Keller sits at Triple-A where he has begun to dominate opposing hitters.
Luis Escobar replaced Lyles and allowed a pair of doubles and a run before recording a strikeout to mercifully end the inning.
The top of the 2nd inning may be the worst the Pirates have all season. When the half inning began the Pirates were leading 2-0 and when the dust settled they were trailing 9-2. Also, the Cardinals eight extra base hits in the 2nd inning tied a MLB record for most extra base hits in a single inning.
Wainwright would continue to struggle in the bottom half of the 2nd inning. With two outs Frazier singled, Dickerson doubled, Marte doubled, and Bell walked. This cut the Cardinal lead to 9-4 and brought Cabrera to the plate with a chance to cut into the lead further.
After the 2nd inning, Wainwright would settle in. He retired the final seven batters he faced, and battled to give the Cardinals 5 innings of work.
The Pirates wanted to get length out of Escobar, but it did not happen. He lasted just 2 innings and allowed 5 runs on five hits, four walks, a home run, and a strikeout. He failed to get out of the 4th inning, which led to Michael Feliz replacing him.
Feliz continued his recent strong work by pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. He did not allow a hit and struck out a batter.
In the top of the 6th inning the polarizing Keone Kela made his first appearance for the Pirates since May 5th. Kela was on the injured list, and then served a two game suspension the past two days. In his first outing in nearly three months, Kela looked strong.
Kela’s fastball sat in the 96-97 MPH range and his curveball looked good. He allowed a lead off double, but then induced a pair of pop outs before recording a strikeout to end the inning. It was great to see Kela have a strong outing in his return to the mound. With trade rumors swirling around Felipe Vazquez, Kela could be the Pirate closer sooner rather than later.
Wednesday night’s game was not fun for the Pirates, but the team would have some fun when utility man Jose Osuna took the mound to pitch in the 7th inning. Position players pitching is always fun to watch, it’s even better when that position player pitches well.
Osuna flashed a fastball that tocuehd 93 MPH on the radar gun, and a pretty decent breaking ball. He retired the Cardinals in order in the 7th inning, and then took the mound again in the 8th. Leading off the 8th inning, Osuna gave up the third home run of the game hit by DeJong. On Wednesday night Osuna became the first Pirate position player to pitch 2 innings in one game since 1988.
In the bottom of the 7th inning the Pirates were able to generate some more offense. Dickerson walked to start the inning and Marte followed with his second double, and third hit, of the night. Then with one out, Cabrera blooped a single to left field to plate both Dickerson and Marte making the score 13-6 Cardinals.
After Osuna logged 2 innings on the mound, Jacob Stallings came into the game to pitch the 9th inning. As Osuna did in his first career inning, Stallings fired a 1-2-3 9th inning. While it was a rough night for the Pirates starting pitcher, it was a great night for position players pitching.
Dickerson and Marte would continue their strong nights in the bottom of the 9th inning. Dickerson led the inning off with his third hit, and second double, and came around to score on Marte’s third double, and fourth hit, of the night. With two outs in the inning Moran singled home Marte for his second RBI of the night. This set the final at 14-8 Cardinals.
The fourth and final game of the series is scheduled for 12:35 on Thursday afternoon. Joe Musgrove (4.08 ERA, 3.69 FIP) will take the ball for the Pirates. Mike Shildt and the Cardinals will counter with Miles Mikolas (4.17 ERA, 4.38 FIP).