PITTSBURGH — Jameson Taillon didn’t have a performance that he wanted to walk away from his last time out. After skipping a start, he got a turnaround Monday, but the Pirates lost, 3-0 to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Taillon gave up six runs on eleven hits in 4.2 innings during his last start on Sept. 7. After 11 days away from the mound, he responded well on Monday.
He gave up two runs on six hits, struck out four and walked one in five innings of work. It still wasn’t an efficient outing, with him needing 92 pitches to get through five frames. Manger Clint Hurdle thought the elevated pitch count was due to Taillon not getting some calls early on.
“There was some swing calls that I thought kind of prolonged the first inning,” he said. “When you get that pitch, you could be out of there in 18 pitches. When you don’t get that pitch, it’s 27 pitches. It can carry on.”
Hurdle thought he continued to attack, though, and that it was the kind of performance Taillon could walk away from with his head held high.
“I thought he stayed aggressive,” Hurdle said. “I thought he worked a downhill angle. I thought he hit the bottom of the zone. He elevated when he wanted to. He still threw the power curve. Threw some changeups, one held its plane. The challenge was the overall length of the at-bats, because he only retired three guys with three pitches or less. But he pitched. So, I thought he went out there and gave us a shot to win, for sure.”
With the Pirates having seven starting pitchers in the rotation and looking to get more opportunities for Steven Brault and Tyler Glasnow, it could be about the end of the road for Taillon.
That was definitely on his mind as he finished the game. Here’s more from Taillon on what might be one of his last appearances of 2016.
HE SAID IT
“You’re going to reinforce it. You have to coach it up. It’s something you need to have in your pocket. We’re two runs down, three runs down in two different instances. They’re unacceptable plays at this level. At the end of the day, those aren’t good baseball plays and they aren’t plays that are going to help your team win. They know that after the fact. They need to know that before the fact. Those are the ways we reinforce it and we will talk about.
“Part of this just comes from young men just trying way too hard because we’re not scoring runs. They’re trying to do something they’re not capable of doing. This is the big leagues. People make plays up here. They made plays on us twice. We got shut down at third. We got shut down at second. They’re not good baseball plays.” — Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on Elias Diaz and Gregory Polanco each getting thrown out on the bases.
GAME IN GRAPHS
Taillon’s BABIP has been inflated a good bit in the second half of the season. He addressed it in the video above, saying that he felt he’s gotten some bad breaks while also not being as crisp as he should be. His BABIP was .400 on Monday.
***Diaz was quick to acknowledge his baserunning gaffe after the game, and acknowledged that, as Hurdle suggested, the overall struggles of the Pirates offense played a part. The team
The Pirates have currently lost six straight games and 11 of their last 12. In their six-game losing streak, they have scored just nine runs.
“It’s a tough situation,” Diaz said through interpreter Mike Gonzalez. “It’s a tough situation right now and obviously, offensively, we’re struggling. We’re not helping our pitchers out. You feel that pressure. No one wants to put themselves in a situation where make an error. No one wants to put themselves in a situation where they’re going to cause an error. But you do feel that pressure of trying to get some runs in.”
***A.J. Schugel came in with two on and nobody out in the sixth inning and shut down the jam, getting Ryan Braun to ground into a fielder’s choice that got Eric Sogard stuck between third and home. Schugel then struck out Travis Shaw and got Eric Thames to fly out for a 1-2-3 trip through the heart of the Brewers’ order.
“I expect him to, because I know how good of a pitcher he is, but coming off the mound with no outs and runners on, you don’t expect to escape with zero outs,” Taillon said. “That was a nice thing for me, at least. A small victory.”