Anthony DeSclafani had the shortest start of his career on Thursday night. The right-handed pitcher lasted just two innings, and those two innings were about as rough as they come in Major League Baseball as he allowed nine earned runs on nine hits, two walks, and three home runs while striking out just one of the 17 hitters he faced.

In his first two starts of the season, DeSclafani had allowed just five hits, no runs, just one walk, and he struck out eight batters between the games against Detroit and Milwaukee. What was the difference? Well, it seems like the Pirates knew what was coming.

“For me, we caught a little bit of a tip that he was tipping,” said catcher Tucker Barnhart after the game. “I’d rather not say exactly what it was, but we caught a tip that he was tipping. I feel like for the most part we caught it obviously a bit to late, but yeah I think that was it. I think his velo was fine, he just kind of sprayed the ball around a little bit. Wasn’t as sharp as I’ve seen him before, clearly, I think he’d tell you the same thing. Just got to forget about this one and move on to five days from now.”

Following the game, manager David Bell spoke about why he left DeSclafani in for as long as he did.

“We’re used to seeing Disco so good. You wait for him to turn it around and they just seemed like they were on everything,” said Bell. “You hate keep him out there, but he’s such a good pitcher, and given our situation (with the bullpen not having either of the long men available) – he gave us everything he had in the 2nd inning to get us out of that. That was it for his night. I don’t have the answers. When I talked to him during the game he didn’t have the answers. Maybe it was just one of those nights, but we’ll definitely be looking into it.”

If there’s going to be some good to take away from a game that went the way that it did, the bullpen came out and threw 7.0 shutout innings, including multiple innings from both Cody Reed and Michael Lorenzen – both of whom have had some struggles at times this season. Jesse Winker continued his tear at the plate, while Nick Senzel and Freddy Galvis put together big nights as well and both pushed their OPS on the season over the .850 mark.

36 Responses

  1. RojoBenjy

    Bell says, “ You hate keep him out there, but he’s such a good pitcher, and given our situation (with the bullpen not having either of the long men available)”

    Translation: Bell mailed it in.

    Why is he not treating these games with the urgency that a 60 game season demands?

    Mystifying.

    • Doug Gray

      This is another case of “darned if you do, darned if you don’t”.

  2. Doc

    Hopefully Bell learned that he has at least four pitchers, probably five, in his bullpen who can go multiple innings effectively. Maybe, although I doubt it, he will change the way he uses the bullpen. Probably he won’t change and will continue to claim his bullpen gets worn out.

  3. Bred

    If he was tipping pitches, the Pirates figured it out quickly or perhaps the saw it on video before the game. Either way I wonder what Bell, Johnson and the rest of the bench were watching.

  4. Don Spurlock

    Watched the game and he was tipping his pitches couldn’t believe the dugout could not see it.

  5. Tom

    Well, Zack Greinke told the other team the pitches coming and did just fine. Just saying. When are the guys that are producing going to be moved up in the lineup so they can get more at-bats? Agree with whoever said that this team has not played well this year. Offensively, defensively and relief pitching. David Bell better figure it out quickly.

    • Rob

      I don’t know. I hear this stuff from Bell that there will be some leveling off. Really? Does He really expect Votto to to hit 300? To do so will require him to hit 350+over the last 40 games. I would bet he will be closer to the same old 260. And Suarez. He is really going to hit 280? He is also going to have to hit 350 plus over the last 40 to do this. Gosh, if they actually do this, we will be scoring 6-7 runs a game.

      From my perspective, we have choked on the expectations and urgency, and are staring down the barrel of a 500 or less season. Sad because this team appears talented and next year’s version seems to offer much less.

      No I don’t have the answers but I sure wouldn’t continue batting Votto and Suarez in the top 6 ….until they start showing this 350 plus stuff that they will need to “level off”.

  6. Old-school

    The Pirates didn’t play for 3 days due to cards cancellations.

    Hitters and coaches must have watched video over and over on disco for 3 days.

  7. SultanofSwaff

    Bell quit on the team, period. If you stem the bleeding in the 2nd even a little, you give the team a fighting chance. Instead, you signal to the players that covering 6 innings instead of 7 from your bullpen is the bigger priority. Ohhhh, one more inning, 20 more pitches, like that matters! It also signals that you don’t think your offense is good enough to score more than 5 in the 8 turns at-bat they still had left against……the vaunted Pittsburgh Pirates. It signals that the potential need tomorrow is greater than the need TODAY.

    This is one of the last archaic vestiges of playing the game ‘by the book’—this loser mindset of playing the game to lose just because you’re losing.

    • mudpuppie

      key statement from Bell “I don’t have the answers” That is a quote. That says it all. When Bell talks at the interviews he mumbles and stumbles like he just woke up….. You know, he’s a new manager and I could support learning from your mistakes, but he firmly believes his method is working and does the same things over and over again. Time for a players only meeting and a mutiny. Williams has to see that Bell is in over his head. Maybe why the Cardinals did not hire him when they had an opening…..

      • Ed Hodes

        I agree.This should happen ASAP AND OUT MR.BELL!!

      • matt lewis

        We all seem to blame David Bell and that is a good place to start, but why is no one blaming the GM? He could have brought in an experienced manager but he didn’t. The bull pen didn’t look good in the off season (even Marty has said) and the additions he made there are terrible. Same ol Reds, but I will do what I always do find a baseball team to root for in the playoffs and hope the reds can find a way to have a winning season some year. I have given up on them for this season.

  8. Hotto4Votto

    Most of this team doesn’t know how to be winners. Most that came up through the Reds system couldn’t have had too many experiences with winning seasons as the minor league teams simply haven’t done much winning recently. It starts with Bell, who didn’t win as a manager.

  9. Klugo

    I cant remember the last time a Reds team consistently fired on all cylinders. Sure the silver lining last night was the bullpen. I agree. And the offense too. But it’s been since like 2012 when the starting, pitching, bullpen, and bats all played well together.

  10. Still a Red

    I guess Disco was tipping his pitches…unless you were watching and could tell, we’ll never know how…or Pirates, keeping to their feud with Reds alive, were stealing signs??. Interesting though, most of Disco pitches in the 2nd were high in or out of the strike zone and on fastballs or sinkers. Was that the game plan? Wasn’t working, why didn’t he and Tucker go downstairs?

  11. Don

    If he was tipping,figure out what it was.

    What I saw were that the pitchers that were over the middle part of the plate that were straight flat. Located between the belt buckle and the letters for the batter.

    No matter the speed that is batting practice location for MLB hitters.

    For Lorenzen and Reed they knew that they were going to have to cover 3ish innings each, they pitched totally different than when they only have to go one or less. Chris Welsh noted this on the broadcast and it was apparent. Neither tried to overthrow and were pacing themselves. They both looked to be pitching not throwing. Big difference in attitude and results.

    • RojoBenjy

      Hopefully that is pointed out to them and they learn from it.

  12. Roger Garrett

    Its always darned if you do and darned if you don’t with a manager but not this time.Now he obviously told the team we ain’t gonna win this one so we will get em tomorrow and I am ok with that.What I am not ok with not having a long man with the expanded roster.Thats on Bell but he pulled Disco after two innings anyway and basically told Reed and Bell give me all you have got so that long man unavailable junk don’t cut it.If Disco goes until he hits 100 pitches I buy it but he pulled him after two innings,two innings 6 outs he could have pulled him after they went up 4-0 and 4 outs.He just blew it period and I know it and the team knows it.Just dumb to not pull Disco before the game got away.

  13. MK

    It was his shortest mlb start. A couple years ago in a Dayton in a rehab start the Class A kids beat him like a drum and he did not get out of first inning. It was like they knew what was coming as well.

    • Doug Gray

      Oh, I was there. It was not good.

      • Grand Salami

        I remember that outing and wondering if he was ever going to make it back to the MLB.

  14. Charlie Waffles

    What is this about Barnhart saying they “caught a little bit of a tip that he was tipping” his pitches. Kind of an odd statement. Then he says he kind of doesn’t want to say exactly what it was.
    Does he not want to say how DeSclafani was tipping his pitches? Or does he not want to say how they were tipped off about DeSclafani tipping his pitches?
    I find it a little hard to believe that a Pirates player would whisper something to Barnhart at the plate about it. But it is possible. Any former Reds on the Pirates roster? I can’t think of any off hand.
    That makes me think that the home plate umpire might have whispered something to Barnhart later in the game about it and Barnhart doesn’t want to throw the umpire under the bus. I don’t think the umpire would come out and say how DeSclafani was tipping. Only that he might have said that even he could tell what the pitch was that was coming in before DeSclafani threw it.

    • Doug Gray

      He didn’t want to say what DeSclafani was doing that was tipping the pitches.

      My take on how they found out is that someone on their team saw something and told them, not that someone on the Pirates said something to them.

    • Grand Salami

      It’s pretty quiet on the field I imagine (compared to real life). I wonder if someone simply overheard it.

      • magi210

        I suspect this is the case, probably overheard the Pirate dugout discussing it. They were certainly swinging like they knew what was coming the second inning.

  15. Charles Miner

    May I for a moment, bring some speculation about Tucker’s comments that is out of left field?

    I missed the first inning but from what I saw of Disco in the second was that he had no command. The only pitch he could get into the strike zone was a flat fastball. He couldn’t locate and had no command. Hitters don’t need to be tipped on pitches when they know to look fastball down the middle cause anything else is outside on the left and right of the plate.

    I submit that Tucker was saving face for Disco. Give the media something else to run with instead of having to say the truth, Disco didn’t have anything yesterday. After Miley’s early exit, Bell hoped and prayed that Disco could get through the second without too many runs scoring so he wouldn’t have to go to his bullpen in the second inning for two games in a row.

    I’m sure if Bell knew he could get 7 shut out innings from the BP he would have pulled Disco a few outs earlier but can you really blame him to not trust the bullpen to go 7 shutout innings?

    • Roger Garrett

      Bell blew the game in the second inning period.He left Disco in long enough to lose the game and then pulled him and the pen still had to cover 7 innings.That made no sense at all regardless of what the pen does or doesn’t do over the rest of the game.No problem for me if he leaves Disco in beyond the 2nd inning to take one for the team as I said in an earlier post but he didn’t.Disco threw 52 pitches and if you buy and I don’t that he was tipping pitches and Tucker saw it or somebody on our side saw it then why not correct it and send him back out there.Maybe if you do you save the pen that didn’t have a long man,which is on Bell if true then maybe Reed or Lorenzen would be available today. Bell lost that game and as I said I know it and so does the team.

  16. Dan

    Pirates didn’t need to be tipped off. Most of the pitches were down the middle of the plate with no movement. He had a (really) bad night.

    Bell over thinks every situation in the game. Problem is he does not seem to inspire the players. They play just like he talks. Just no excitement.

  17. DaveCT

    Colon DFA’d and Tyler Thornberg selected

    • Charlie Waffles

      I saw that too. I also saw where Cleveland has optioned 2/5 of their starting rotation. They sent the bad boys Clevinger and Plesac to their alternate site. That is some serious punishment for violating the virus protocol. I like it. Good for the Indians.

      • Roger Garrett

        If that’s their way of saying its not about you its about the team then good for them.I like it and thumbs up for doing it.

  18. Greenfield Red

    It’s inexcusable to not have enough pitchers in the bullpen. They have 8 or 9 guys in there and they can be changed out on a daily basis with the rest of the 60 man roster.

    Thom tried to make the same point on the telecast last night. I thought it was one of the dumber things he has said recently. It was surpassed by his announcing to the world that Jack Clark was dead, but still pretty dumb.

  19. Frankie Tomatoes

    Did anyone ever talk about what the tip was that was giving everything away?

    • Doug Gray

      I never saw anyone talk about it. Of course, no one on the team is going to bring it up just in case it happens again.