There Was No Doubt About It

A Pittsburgh Pirates Blog

Taillon Solid, Bullpen Not: Mets 6, Pirates 5

06.09.16 Posted by

I’ve been saying for awhile that whether Jameson Taillon was particularly good or not, whoever he ended up taking starts from probably wouldn’t have been any better. Taillon’s major league debut was a fine example of that: he threw the minimum required for a Quality Start: six innings, three earned runs. He only struck out three, and he walked two, allowing six hits (one a home run). It was perfectly average, but given how common it is to struggle when adjusting to the highest level, that’s a pretty encouraging beginning.

Also encouraging is that the Pirates fared reasonably well against Syndergaard, scoring three runs (two earned) in six innings, and feeling like they could’ve gotten more: they banged out seven hits and drew two walks against him in those innings, and only struck out five times.

But the Bucs blew leads of 2-0, 3-2, and 5-3 (in the 8th inning, no less). In all, four relievers threw four innings, allowing three runs, and that’s why they lost in 10 innings. Yesterday’s doubleheader came back to bite them, with Feliz presumably unavailable in the aforementioned 8th (or only available in desperate circumstances) after throwing an inning in each of yesterday’s games. The only reliever not to allow a run, Watson, struck out the side.

Offensively, it was a good game: of the 10 Pirate hits, six of them were doubles, and three of those were from Gregory Polanco. Polanco leads the league in doubles, and at this point I think the thing most likely to stop him from continuing to do so is the possibility that they start landing on the other side of the fence more often. One of last night’s doubles came shortly after a towering fly ball down the right field line that was just foul, but if fair (and if it hadn’t hit a sign) would’ve end up waterlogged.

What more can you say? When you ask players on this kind of run what they attribute it to, they love to say something like “I’m seeing the ball real good right now,” which is ballplayer for “I’m straight up murdering the baseball and then tracking down its family while its still in the air.”

Yesterday’s twin wins eases the frustration with this loss, but otherwise it’s a pretty bad one: three different leads blown, and its pretty easy to chalk this up as a loss that wouldn’t have happened if the Bucs were playing a relatively normal schedule. But they aren’t, so here we are. Still, a very good series win against a good Mets team. The Bucs played well enough to win all three, and get credit for two. This is the kind of skill they’ll need to show throughout June to come out of the other side still vying for a playoff spot, and it’s the kind of skill they hadn’t shown much in the handful of games beforehand. It’s a good start.

Filed under: game recaps, Gregory Polanco, Jameson Taillon