Although he didn’t get a game ball yet, right-hander Taylor Jordan pitched well enough in his sixth major league start to earn his first big league victory.
Jordan was asked who he was going to give the game ball to after the Nationals crushed the Mets 14-1.
He said he hadn’t procured a game ball yet. At least he didn’t think he had one, as he looked into his locker at baseballs from other games.
“The ball? I don’t have one,” Jordan said. “Oh, do I have one? No, these are just balls.”
The Nationals will definitely get him one after his second start against the Mets turned into his initial major league victory. Jordan (1-3) twirled six innings and allowed just one run on five hits with one walk and a career-high seven strikeouts.
“It is a tough thing to do to get a win and I got one today,” Jordan said. “We were up by eight it seemed like in no time at all. I just started throwing more strikes and just let them hit it.
“I am extremely happy. A little bit, I was wondering if I was going to go 0-4 or 0-5 - I am not helping the team. Finally to get that one win ...I am very happy I got the win because that means I am helping the team.”
Manager Davey Johnson said Jordan didn’t have his best stuff, but he was still good enough to beat the Mets, who gave All-Star David Wright a the day off against the right-hander.
“I don’t think he was as sharp as he was the last time out,” Johnson said. “But he threw awful good, made pitches when he had to. His slider keeps getting better.”
Jordan had pointed to the slider as a pitch that he has started to see better results in each successive start.
“I have been working on my slider a lot and it is finally coming around,” Jordan said. “I am trying to perfect that pitch. It is definitely more of an out pitch now. It seems like it has a sharper break on it. I have to execute the pitch first, but it is having a lot more bite to it.”
Jordan faced the Mets in his first major league start, June 29 in New York. In his debut, Jordan went 4 1/3 innings, allowing five hits, three runs, one earned run, two walks and struck out one.
This time around, Jordan did even better. Johnson that impressed him because the Mets had familiarity with what Jordan could throw.
“It gives you a good read on how your stuff is,” Johnson said. “They know what you throw and they still don’t hit you.”
Jordan was worried early that with the Mets knowing what was coming that would hinder his ability to get guys out. After the Philadelphia game in early July, Jordan was concerned that he might be tipping his pitches. On Sunday, he stuck to his stuff, and it got the Mets out.
“I feel like it is kind of a disadvantage because they already know what I have,” Jordan said. “But they didn’t see me but for four innings the first time. That was one thing I was thinking about my second time I faced them. I did a better than the first time I faced them.”
Jordan said he is still receiving on-the-job training, with only six starts under his belt. His stuff is certainly playing in the majors, however, and now he finally has a win after Sunday’s positive outcome.
“I am still learning, trying to figure out what to do in what situation, what count, who is up, who is on deck,” Jordan said. “I am still learning that stuff.”
Oh, and make sure to get the kid a game ball. He deserves it.