The clothes don't make the man, it's the man who makes the clothes, the old saying goes. In Jameson Taillon's case, the clothes certainly aren't hurting.
The Pirates' top prospect gave up two hits and struck out four over five innings in his second straight scoreless start Saturday as Bradenton blanked Palm Beach, 2-0.
Taillon (6-7) has not given up a run in 12 innings over his last two starts, a streak that happens to coincide with a new pregame ritual that will continue for at least one more outing. He wore a suit to the ballpark before tossing seven shutout innings on Monday, then did it again Saturday.
"Before we went on the road to Lakeland before my last start, a couple of the guys were mentioning it. They were like, 'Yeah, we should [wear suits].' And then nobody did it but me. I was hoping I would throw well, but it's kind of a hassle," he said, laughing. "But there's no way I can stop wearing it right now, so I'll definitely wear it again in five days."
Saturday's suit of choice was a navy blue outfit from Brooks Brothers. The 20-year-old said right-hander he doesn't put a lot of stock in things like scoreless streaks, but that the reaction from coaches and teammates -- and a healthy dose of superstition -- made it worth continuing for the time being.
"I'm just mixing it up, giving it a different look," he said. "Everyone thinks it's funny. It's a long season, gets kind of monotonous, day in, day out, so it's kind of fun, puts some smiles on faces. There's been a good reaction so far."
The second overall pick in the 2010 Draft has had an up-and-down year. In April, he posted a 1.46 ERA, a mark that increased to 5.40 over the next two months. His most recent run of success is closer to what he expects from himself.
"Throwing scoreless innings is obviously great, but at the end of the game you can be throwing really well and not getting results or throwing not as well and get results," he said. "I expect a lot out of myself and this year has been kind of interesting, a lot of ups and downs, and I'd like to limit that. I do expect this out of myself. Obviously, I can't go scoreless every time, but it's good to see some results.
"I'm still young and I get ahead of myself sometimes. I want to do well and succeed and put up numbers. It's been a big learning year. I've put in a lot of hard work in between starts, and that's where it matters. It's nice to put up the numbers, but you just have to stay at the grind."
Taillon, MLB.com's No. 5 overall prospect lowered his ERA to 3.91 over 115 innings. He ranks eighth in the Florida State League with 92 strikeouts while walking 34 batters.
With the end of the season in sight, he'll probably have more outings like Saturday's, in which he threw only 61 pitches. He's already hurled nearly 25 more innings than he logged last year at Class A West Virginia.
Pirates No. 11 prospect Alex Dickerson provided Taillon with all the support he needed, going 2-for-3 with a two-run homer in the first.