Despite loss, Tallet held in high regard

Despite loss, Tallet held in high regard

BALTIMORE -- Brian Tallet has been a relief pitcher throughout his Major League career. Before this season, only six of his 152 appearances were starts.

But everything has changed this year. Injuries forced manager Cito Gaston to move the 31-year-old Tallet out of the bullpen and into the rotation in mid-April, and it's paid dividends quickly. The left-hander has given the Blue Jays several good starts, the latest coming on Monday in a 4-1 loss to Baltimore.

Tallet held the Orioles to two runs and seven hits in six innings and kept the slumping Blue Jays in the game. The offense just wasn't able to pitch in.

"We're going through a tough time," Tallet said. "It's just one of those times. I made a mistake in the fourth inning and left a pitch that [Gregg Zaun] could handle, and it was the difference in the game. You don't want to think it is, but it was."

Gaston was concerned about his offense's problems with timely hitting, but was fine with Tallet.

He pitched well," Gaston said. "If you give up two runs, that's not bad at all."

Tallet stepped into the rotation on April 18 and made his first start in three years to fill in for Jesse Litsch, who went onto the disabled list with elbow/forearm soreness. The left-hander has been solid since then, giving up three earned runs or less in seven of the eight starts.

He has a 2-3 record in those eight starts, but gave up two earned runs in two of the three defeats.

Tallet said earlier this season that he expected to get used to being a starter. Eight of his 12 appearances in 2009 have been starts.

"It will become a little easier, because your body gets adjusted," Tallet said in an April interview. "More than anything, your arm gets adjusted to throwing more pitches, and in between starts, maybe not throwing quite as much."

Injuries have shaken up the Toronto starting rotation, and the question is what will happen when everyone returns. But Tallet has become a strong starter for now and works hard to get better.

"I started this [losing streak] in Boston, and I was trying to do everything I could to stop it," Tallet said quietly after Monday's loss. "I just wasn't able to."

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.