PITTSBURGH -- Following the Cardinals' ugly loss to the Pirates at PNC Park on Friday night, manager Tony La Russa had some brutal honesty for starting pitcher Joel Pineiro. But that was OK with Pineiro, since he saw all the same things La Russa did -- inconsistency from inning to inning, and generally disappointing results.
So when the two men got together for a chat on Saturday, it's not surprising that they saw things eye to eye.
"We conversed," La Russa said. "I just wanted to talk to him. We talk all the time; this was just a little bit more official. He's being inconsistent, and he's better than that."
Pineiro pitched for the second time in 27 days, and his start date was shuffled twice before he took the mound. But neither manager nor pitcher considered that an explanation for the seven-run, four-inning slog.
"He just wants me to finish strong," Pineiro said. "That's about it. [He said,] 'I'm sorry, buddy, it was weird. I didn't know what to do.' But I was ready to go."
La Russa said that Pineiro's place in the rotation is not in jeopardy. The righty will make his final two starts. However, he's clearly the fifth man out of five right now. He's twice been shuffled to the bullpen, as the Cards went to a four-man rotation. And his next start won't come until Saturday in Chicago, on seven days of rest. Pineiro will start only two of the Cardinals' final 15 games.
In those games, he'll try to solve the slide that has seen him put up a 6.44 ERA over his last 13 appearances.
"It's a good thing to find out and try to figure out," Pineiro said. "He just said, 'You've got more talent, and you can do more stuff. It's OK to go out there and get beat with your best stuff, but you've got to try to go out there with your best stuff instead of going through the motions. Having one good inning, one bad inning, one good inning, one bad inning, that's not going to cut it.'"
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.