PITTSBURGH — Jameson Taillon set a career high in walks and labored through five innings, while giving up five runs on five hits as the Pirates lost, 6-5, to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
Taillon wasn’t sharp from the beginning, as Chris Taylor doubled and scored to lead off the game. The Dodgers followed that up with a two-run second that was aided by uncharacteristic back-to-back walks. Two more walks in the fourth added yet another run and Taillon finished with a career-high five.
It’s a development worth monitoring for Taillon, who has scuffled overall since the All-Star break. In eight second-half starts, he’s given up 37 runs in 39.1 innings for an 8.47 RA/9. He had a 2.87 RA/9 in the first half of the season.
Despite Taillon’s rough outing, the Pirates came back to tie it with five runs in the third inning. Starling Marte hit a two-run home run and Josh Harrison added on with a bases-loaded double that nearly cleared the Clemente Wall.
The Pirates’ revamped bullpen couldn’t hold onto the tie for very long. Johnny Barbato gave up a run in the sixth and Edgar Santana served up a two-run home run to Yasmani Grandal in the seventh.
Here’s more from Taillon on his lack of command and overall tough night against the NL’s best club.
HE SAID IT
““When you win as many games as they have, you look a little taller. You walk a little taller. When you can have Adrian Gonzalez at seventh in your lineup, it pretty much sums it up for me from what I’ve seen over the last seven years. The guy got his 2,000th career hit tonight.”
— Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on the Dodgers’ lineup.
GAME IN GRAPHS
Taillon didn’t get a lot of love for his low-ball offerings from either the Dodgers or home-plate umpire Quinn Wolcott. That left him with an uncharacteristically high number of balls, which in turn led to hitter’s counts and walks. Taillon throws low out of the zone frequently, but not many teams take them as well or as often as the Dodgers did.
***In Johnny Barbato’s last outing against the Syracuse Chiefs, he faced Zach Collier, Irving Falu and Neftali Soto. Against the Dodgers on Tuesday, he faced Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Taylor, Corey Seager and Justin Turner. That’s quite a turnaround.
“It’s obviously tough,” Barbato said. “But, you still have to go out there and make your pitches. When I needed to make my pitches, I didn’t make pitches.”
***Steven Brault got loose in the fourth inning in case Taillon couldn’t get out of it clean. Hurdle said Brault figures to be used as a multiple-inning option out of the bullpen. That’s something the Pirates haven’t really had since Trevor Williams moved into the rotation back in May.
“(Our bullpen) has been a little bit stressed recently, so I think we’re still figuring out what we’re going to be doing,” Brault said. He added that he doesn’t mind pitching one inning at a time, either, but that it requires a change in mindset, and that’s something he’s still mastering.
“I think if the relief is going to be a one-inning thing and I know that, (my approach might change),” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to roll over and trying to stay in that reliever mentality for as long as I’m out there.”
***The other thing Brault will have to get used to is getting hot and not getting into games, as he did on Tuesday. That could be big, as he’ll be needed to help protect a still-vulnerable bullpen if Trevor Williams or Chad Kuhl exits early the next two days.
“We’re looking to get him out and get volume and get him pitches,” Hurdle said. “I hope the opportunity doesn’t present itself, but that’s kind of why he’s here, to pick up a short starter.”