The new Yankees kicked off their new 2021 team with a fun win. Let’s hope they make a habit of it, eh? Anyway, the Yanks beat the Marlins 3-1 on Friday evening, improving to 54-48 in the process. This game had very good Yankee pitching, an Anthony Rizzo home run, Nestor Cortes as a pinch runner, and an inexplicable Tyler Wade bunt. It had something for everyone. Most importantly, it had this:
Lots to say about this one, so let’s not waste any more time. Let’s get right to today’s takeaways.
Jameson Taillon isn’t turning the corner – he’s turned the corner. Hey, would you look at that. It turns out that patience is key when it comes to a pitcher with good stuff who hasn’t pitched in two full years. Imagine! Anyway, Taillon has really been exceptional of late, and he kept it up tonight. He pitched 5.2 innings of no-run ball once again this evening and he looked sharp for the entire evening. His pitch plot tells the story:
Taillon worked north-south with the fastball, pounded the zone with his curveball and slider, and kept his changeup down in the zone. Pretty much an ideal situation, though if I was nit-picking, I’d say he wants to keep that curve juuuust a bit lower next time. But there’s no need to nit-pick. The Yankees’ righty has been very, very good of late, and is looking exactly like the #2 starter he was billed to be at trade time.
Including tonight’s performance, here are his last five starts, all of which occurred in July:
- 7/6 (@ SEA): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K
- 7/11 (@ HOU): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K
- 7/18 (vs. BOS): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K
- 7/24: (@ BOS): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 4 K
- 7/30 (@ MIA): 5.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K performance against the Fish in Miami.
That is a pretty damn impressive month right there. Even more impressive, it includes 4 starts on the road and 2 consecutive starts against the same team. All told, Jamo threw 31 innings and allowed just 20 hits and 4 ER in July, with 25 strikeouts against 10 walks. That is a very, very good month. Taillon has given length, beaten good teams, and looked very confident on the mound.
Zoom out a bit longer and it’s even clearer: Taillon has surrendered 2 ER or fewer in 7 of his last 8 starts dating back to June 18, so right around the time of the sticky stuff crackdown. It’s been super encouraging, and it’s a good long-term trend for the Yanks. It’s worth a deeper dive into his performance lately – Kay said on the broadcast that he’s pitching differently since mid-June, but I don’t think that’s true – especially because he’s not really striking guys out.
Still, that doesn’t matter at all to me. The results are the results, and Taillon looks as good as the line. Let’s just hope it continues throughout the summer and, hopefully, deep into the fall. The Yankees will need him.
The Yankee Bullpen Can Be Really, Really Dominant. I shouldn’t have to say this, but I feel compelled to anyway: the Yankee bullpen is really good. They are a big strength for this team. I know that they’ve blown some horrific games lately – and that absolutely cannot continue – but the facts are the facts. This is a talented pen, especially at the back end of games. That was very much on display in tonight’s game.
Jonathan Loaisiga relieved Jameson Taillon in the 6th inning and threw 1.1 innings of one-hit, 2-strikeout ball. And he looked dominant as hell doing it, too. I mean, just look at this:
Utterly, utterly dominant. That has been the story of 2021 for Loaisiga, though, so no surprises. Zack Britton was also very good – he surrendered a run, but his two hits were a grounder with eyes and a ludicrously soft hit pop up – and Aroldis Chapman slammed home the door in the 9th. That’s how the Yanks are going to win a lot of games, and, in fact, that’s exactly what’s happened:
That stat is also why it feels like there are so many blown games. The Yankees almost exclusively play close games. Next up: the offense needs to win a few blowouts every now and then. Could be cool? Speaking of…
It was a quiet night for the offense, but one of our new friends shined. The Yanks scored 3 runs on 7 hits, but that’s a bit misleading from just the box score. Four of those hits and two of the runs came in the 8th and 9th inning, so most of the night was a quiet for the offense. In fact, the only the only run came from our new friend, Anthony Rizzo. And boy oh boy was it a blast. Check it out:
That one somehow went just 449 feet, but it was a towering blast nonetheless. A no doubter. Rizzo was 8-22 (.364) in his last 6 games as a Cub, and he kept it up with the Yanks. He also singled and walked in this one, so a very nice debut indeed. (I’ll also say, it was very nice to see a left-handed 1B just launch a homer for the Yanks. Kinda like things were back to normal, you know?)
The other big star of the night offensively was Rougned Odor. Who else? Odor, rather inexplicably, has been red hot since about mid-June and he lined a 2-run single in the 8th inning with the bases loaded to make it 3-0 Yanks. That was the difference in the game. Even though he made an error and I’ve been (unfairly) tough on him, Odor has been an important piece of late. And that’s much more palatable with him not hitting third.
- Gleyber Torres was tossed in this game for “arguing” an inexplicable third-strike call in the 7th inning. And I mean inexplicable. It was not even close to a strike and Gleyber barely even raised a fit. He definitely voiced his displeasure, but it was time for an Ump Show. Gleyber was tossed – this after Giancarlo Stanton was double-switched out – of the game. That was a problem, given that day-to-day players Gio Urshela and DJ LeMahieu had to enter the game. Urshela singled and was pinch-run for, hilariously, by Nestor Cortes. DJ also singled, but it was not an ideal situation. Here is Nestor Cortes, baserunner:
- All of this is to say that the National League is a disgrace. Can we please leave the no-DH league in the 19th century, where it belongs? Thanks.
- Let me also just say that Tyler Wade bunted right back to the mound with two outs and a guy on in front of [checks notes] Jameson Taillon in this one. That is just inexplicable. (He was also caught stealing, but that was one of the best throws you’ll ever see.)
- Finally, we almost got a true Joey Gallo performance in his debut. Gallo struck out twice and walked. He also hit a ball right to the track, so we almost had the three outcomes from Mr. Three True Outcome.
The Yanks and Marlins will play the second of this three-game set tomorrow evening in Miami. Domingo Germán (4-5, 4.45 ERA) will take the ball for New York against a to-be-announced pitcher for Miami. That game will take place at 6:10 pm ET. Enjoy the rest of your night, everyone.