"When you're not scoring runs, you better put your best defense on the field -- that I can tell you," Piniella said after Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. "You can't afford to give up runs when you're not scoring."
An error by Alfonso Soriano in the Reds' seventh led to a run. Soriano apparently tracked Jonny Gomes' fly ball, but then took his eyes away. The ball dropped, and he was charged with an error.
The Reds baserunners seemed confused. Did Soriano catch it? Was it foul? Whatever, the bases were loaded and starter Tom Gorzelanny was pulled. Pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo gently smacked the ball past Sean Marshall for an infield hit, and Scott Rolen scored from third to tie the game.
Piniella couldn't tell what happened because Soriano disappeared from view. How close was Soriano to the wall?
"I took a couple steps then hit the grass, and as soon as I hit the grass, I thought I had two more steps," Soriano said. "I took little steps, because I didn't want to hit the wall. You know, full speed into the wall can be very dangerous."
Rookie Tyler Colvin was inserted into left after the eighth inning. He may need to start. What else can Piniella do?
"We'll see what happens," Piniella said. "I'm going to go home, think about it. It's nice to be going home tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the home opener, and hopefully, we'll start swinging the bats and put some runs on the board and win with more frequency."
The other trouble spot has been rookie Esmailin Caridad, who walked in the tiebreaking run in the eighth. He also served up a game-winning grand slam on Friday.
"The one thing that's disappointing to me is, we go all spring with very few walks," Piniella said, "and I compliment our pitchers for doing that. The season starts and here come the walks.
"That's why sometimes you look at Spring Training with a grain of salt. You can look at his stuff, look at demeanor, look at a lot of things, but there's no substitute when the season starts and it's for real."
There may be changes coming there, too.