Despite tough loss to Pirates, Jordan believes he is making progress

He is getting closer.

Right-hander Taylor Jordan had allowed only two earned runs through seven innings Tuesday. But again the Nationals could not score runs, and he trailed, 3-1.

Manager Davey Johnson liked what he was seeing from Jordan and with a low pitch count, and wanted to give the youngster a shot in the eighth inning to earn his first major league victory.

“He pitched so good in the seventh, I was going to take him out for the left-hander, but I thought he deserved the chance to win that ball game,” Johnson said. “He made just one bad pitch to him, hung a changeup up to (Pedro) Alvarez.

“Taylor pitched one heck of a ballgame right when it was needed it. Our bullpen was in shambles. He did a great job, deserved better.”

Alvarez hit a home run on the one mistake Jordan was still thinking about minutes after the loss.

“I thought it went well, a lot of weak grounders,” Jordan said. “I missed that pitch, that changeup, in the eighth inning. Left it up, and he hit it.”

Pittsburgh went on to win 5-1 and the boxscore reveals a won-loss record of 0-3 for Jordan.

But that doesn’t tell the story of how well Jordan pitched for five innings starting in the third frame. The Pirates put together only two hits from the third to the sixth. Then, Jordan pitched through two hits (after two outs) in the seventh.

Second baseman Anthony Rendon was behind Jordan on defense at Double-A and sees the same relentless pitcher he saw in Harrisburg here in D.C.

“He can pitch,” Rendon said. “Word gets out there. He just goes after guys. He is not afraid to throw it. That is what we like in pitchers. You got seven guys behind you. You let your defense work. That is what we like to do. That is why we are there.”

Jordan sees progress in his stuff. He is gaining confidence in his slider, which is “starting to come along. It is starting to become a good pitch for me now.”

Jordan has learned to not worry about the name on the back of the opponent’s jersey, either. He is trusting his stuff and going after guys.

“I am starting not to really care who is up to bat,” Jordan said. “I still have to make my pitches. Just like the pitcher today, who got several hits off me. I am feeling a lot more comfortable up there.”

He also has learned that mistakes in the majors are not fly balls caught on the warning track as they might be in the Eastern League.

“They all have immense power,” Jordan said of hitters he faces in the bigs. “If you make a mistake or leave a ball up it gets punished. I have just learned that it is a lot harder to make mistakes here than it is down in the minors.”

But in the end, the record shows 0-3 for Jordan in five major league starts. That “0” in the left column, that was one thing he wanted to change Tuesday.

“I would love to get a first win. I really wanted the win today because we needed it. I would love to celebrate one time.”

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