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.