Although the final score favored the Yankees 10-3, this game was pretty close for the first six and a half innings. The Yankees trailed early (3-0 entering the bottom of the fourth), tied things up by the fifth, and then exploded for five runs in the seventh thanks to some timely hitting and ugly Baltimore defense.
The offense may have scored double digits for a second consecutive game, but the story today was Jameson Taillon. He dominated the Orioles’ lineup, and as I’ll discuss momentarily, pitched even better than what the box score indicates. With that, let’s get right to the takeaways:
Another great game by Jameson Taillon. Earlier today, I wrote about how tonight’s starter has turned his season around. I surmised that some of his early-season woes could be chalked up to bad luck, though I still don’t love that answer. Yet tonight, I felt that Taillon dealt with some bad luck and still pitched brilliantly.
Taillon delivered 6.1 innings and allowed three runs (two earned). He struck out ten and walked one. He gave up a couple runs in the first, though nothing was struck particularly hard against him. Baltimore tallied three singles and a sacrifice fly against Taillon to score twice, but none of the singles were struck well. Two had exit velocities south of 70 MPH, and the other had a middling 86.9 MPH reading. Some good placement (or bad luck, if you will), along with a rare Joey Gallo error, led to a two-run first.
Ryan Mountcastle’s solo homer accounted for the other run against Taillon, although per Statcast, it wouldn’t have been a homer in any other ballpark. Won’t see any Orioles fans complaining about the short porch tonight, I guess.
Taillon could have gone deeper in this game had things gone his way in the first inning. He needed 22 pitches to escape. Still, his stuff was so overpowering that a few bad breaks and an early high pitch count didn’t matter. He pitched into the seventh inning thanks to an absolutely dominant fastball-curveball combination. Those two accounted for 68 of the 90 pitches he threw today and were beautifully located:
I figured this chart would best illustrate the north south approach. A heatmap doesn’t differentiate pitch types and a regular pitch chart sometimes makes it difficult to see the density of pitches in a location. Anyway, the point is that Taillon did a nice job of tunneling these two offerings today. If I could nitpick though — and I think Taillon might agree — there were a few too many fastballs that didn’t get up quite enough. Mountcastle’s dinger was one of them.
Thanks in part to great command of these offerings, O’s hitters whiffed on six of eight swings against Taillon’s curve (75%) and nine of 28 times against his four-seamer (32%). Even the slider, which he didn’t go to too often, tallied three whiffs on 11 hacks (27%).
Lastly, Taillon had such good feel for the fastball and curve that he didn’t throw a single sinker this evening. Remember how he had started going to it a couple months ago in response to his struggles? Well, he hardly threw it in his last two outings, and today, he totally ignored it. Even his changeup went by the wayside, with just three uses tonight. He just didn’t need those options.
It’s been just six games, but I’m ready to re-sign Anthony Rizzo. Another day, another big game for the newly acquired first baseman. He went 1-for-4 with a homer and a walk tonight. His homer in the fourth put the Yankees on the board against Matt Harvey, who not only had shut out the Yankees through 3.1 innings, but also hadn’t allowed a hit.
Rizzo’s first at-bat foreshadowed this dinger. In the first, he battled Harvey and drew a walk on 13 pitches. He fouled off nine pitches in that AB, and it seemed like all of them were foul home runs. Rizzo sure straightened it out that next time up.
Rizzo’s now 8-for-20 (.400) with three homers in pinstripes and has reached base in 14 of 27 plate appearances (.519 OBP). He’s also the first player in franchise history to record an RBI in each of his first six games with the team. But perhaps my favorite thing: he’s struck out just once. Once! The power and contact combination is a beautiful thing.
The Yankees have needed lineup diversity and Rizzo offers just that: lefty power and bat-to-ball skills. Oh, and he plays a nifty first base too. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but I sure wouldn’t mind seeing him in the Bronx in 2022.
- The Orioles’ outfield defense in this series will not make the next Tom Emanski video. How many bloopers dropped in between fielders over the last three days? Today’s big blow was Giancarlo Stanton’s three-run double, though that one was in no-man’s land more than anything else. Still, we also saw Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez pick up singles that should have never found grass.
- DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gleyber Torres all had multi-hit games. Those are three guys who’ve really needed it of late, too. The three of them accounted for 9 RBIs.
- Nice night for the Yankees’ bullpen. Jonathan Loaisiga, Clay Holmes, and Albert Abreu shut the door with 2.2 shutout innings.
- Not to pour cold water on the win, but it’s still a bit frustrating that the Yankees dropped the series opener to the Orioles. At least they did what they had to do thereafter: win the series.
The Bombers are now 58-49 and remain six behind the Rays for first place in the division and two games back of Oakland in the Wild Card race. Up next: the Mariners, who are just a game back of the Yankees in the standings. They’ll play four at Yankee Stadium.