Jordan Lyles chose his words carefully, but in the end there was only one way to express it.
"I have not served my team," said Lyles, the Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher on Wednesday night in a 14-8 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
"I stunk it."
The result was the 10th defeat of the pirates in the last 12 games and the fourth defeat in a row.
What remained of a PNC Park crowd of 18,675 felt obliged to rejoice when the previously dormant pirate bats came to life, scoring eight runs on 11 hits. But that night a nice offensive performance was pitifully short because the pitchers were so bad.
At least two of them. Manager Clint Hurdle put positional players Jose Osuna and Jacob Stallings to throw the last three innings to keep his bullpen fresh. The Cardinals only made one run against them ̵
"They were much better than half the actual pitcher," he said.
Lyles was a mystery most of the season. In his first eight starts he was 4: 1 with 1.97 ERA. In his last eight years he was 1-6 with an ERA of 9.57.
Last Friday he was responsible for 5 2/3 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies (one run, seven hits, seven strikeouts). But he did not make it from the first inning in the outing against the Chicago Cubs (seven runs, four hits, four walks).
He did not survive the second inning on Wednesday, when the Cardinals joined a Major League record with eight additional hits, a feat that has only been four times in baseball history. The Cardinals collected five of their six doubles and three of their five homeruns before the inning ended. In 1 2/3 innings, Lyles gave up eight runs and five hits. His immediate relief, rookie Luis Escobar, learned a hard lesson: he allowed five runs, five hits and four courses in two innings. While Escobar was otherwise occupied, Cardinals base runner Yairo Munoz stole the second and third bases without a throw.
The 23-year-old Escobar only appeared for the fourth time in the league. He can be excused. 28-year-old Lyles is in his ninth season in the big league.
"Things got snowed," he said. "That was a problem in my career, an inning here and there, snowballs, I stood up here two starts ago, and said the same thing, of course I have to figure it out."
Lyles' name used to appear in trading speculation but he said that this did not change his focus on the game.
"Not with the last handful of weeks," he said, "I have too many other things on my shoulders, when this day is here and it comes , then it happens.
"Until then, I'm more worried that I could be a major league pitcher to bring out Major League Hitter."
Hurdle said the next step was to discover the problem.
"We'll sit down and watch a band and get feedback from him and see where we need to go next," he said. "We'll see. We will definitely hunt it. "
Hurdle had to look for small victories, such as Melky Cabrera, who in the ninth inning tracked a flyball from Kolten Wong, who apparently headed for the right wall and additional bases. And the pirates each scored two runs in the seventh and ninth. Corey Dickerson won two double 2: 3 and three double starling Marte 4: 5.
The pirates ended up with as many doubles (six) as the Cardinals.
"It was quite different stuff," said Hurdle. "The last two weeks have been tough. There is no other way around it.
"When we went there, everything was trendy. A lot of positive stories, many good things are going on.
"A lot of it has moved in two weeks, although the focus has not shifted."
"They're playing ball. They try to honor the name on the front and maintain the name on the back. "