By Chris Adamski
BRADENTON, Fla. — Jameson Taillon didn’t have his best stuff Wednesday. And that he yet still put up a clean stat line is a testament both to his talent and his current confidence level.
The Pirates’ second-year No. 2 starter said as much afterwards, both lamenting some of his pitches and simultaneously and palpably (and humbly) taking great pride in the way he was able to challenge good hitters when behind in the count – and still get outs.
Taillon’s demeanor – both on the mound during games and in the clubhouse between them – belies a man who has just 18 major-league games on his résumé.
The No. 2 overall draft pick always believed he had major-league starter talent in him. But even the most confident of people can have some apprehension until when and if they actually perform at that level. Taillon’s 3.38 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 104 MLB innings last season removed any doubt.
“I think you know you can do it; you can never lose that self-confidence,” Taillon was saying last week. “It’s nice have to kind of done a little circuit up there and know how it works. But that being said I’m still preparing as if I’m not guaranteed a spot, and I think that will serve me well.”
“He’s hungry, he just wants to keep on learning and be one of the best of the best,” pitching coach Ray Searage said. “And I say all the time: his maturity is way beyond his years. He’s got a good feel for the game. Some people are born to pitch. And I think Jameson is one of those people.”
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“The Pirates definitely value it a little more than maybe the average team in Major League Baseball as a whole”
“They anticipate him being back into game activity tomorrow.”
“I’d fall behind in the count and throw a competitive challenge pitch and got some good results.”
>>> Thursday’s game: Pirates (13-5) at Red Sox (8-10), 6:05 p.m., JetBlue Park at Fenway South, Fort Myers, Fla. Webcast: pirates.com
Pirates: Adam Frazier 6, Phil Gosselin 4, Josh Bell 3, Jose Osuna 7, Elias Diaz 2, Alen Hanson 9, Eury Perez 8, Gift Ngoepe 5. RHP Ivan Nova 1.
Also pitching for the Pirates: RH Edgar Santana, RH A.J. Schugel, LH Dan Runzler, RH Donvydas Neverauskas
Red Sox: Lineup TBA. LHP Chris Sale
Also pitching for the Red Sox: RH Craig Kimbrel, RH Heath Hembree, LH Robbie Ross Jr., RH Jamie Callahan.
>>> My spot start has ended: My 10-day stint in Bradenton is up, so as of Thursday I’m back in Pittsburgh. The incomparable Rob Biertempfel is back with the ol’ ballclub starting then. I can only hope he’s returning and doesn’t have too much of a mess to clean up (figuratively in regards to the beat, and literally at the condo at Casa de Trib). Thanks for following along.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.