Good news and bad news as Yankees sneak past Rays for 4th straight win

New York Yankees, Jameson Taillon

After injuries decimated the New York Yankees roster, the Tampa Bay Rays had a great opportunity to mount a comeback in the AL East. However, the Yankees’ reserve squad has done a phenomenal job pulling ahead even further, sitting 6.5 games in the lead.

With the Boston Red Sox being pummeled by the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, manager Aaron Boone can feel confident about his team moving forward, despite losing several players to Tommy John surgery and a number of impact pieces to the injured list.

Good news and bad news for the Yankees in the win over Tampa:

Starting pitcher Jameson Taillon has performed well this season, but his outing on Friday might’ve been his best of the year. Over 8.0 innings, Taillon allowed two hits and struck out five batters. He lowered his ERA to 2.49, tossing just 93 pitches in the process. In fact, this was the first time Taillon refused to allow a run all season long, and it came at the perfect moment when his team needed him most.

Taillon hosts a career-low 6.93 strikeouts per nine but is also walking fewer batters at 0.89 per nine. His 82.3% left on base rate is the highest in his career as well.

Interestingly, the Yankees have incorporated a cutter into several of their more prevalent pitchers, including Garrett Cole, Nestor Cortes, and now Taillon. He’s throwing it 13.5% of the time at 90.1 mph. Jameson isn’t known for his blazing velocity or his strikeouts but rather for producing weak contact from opposing batters with great break on his pitches.

The problem lately has been the Yankees’ offense, which has been wildly inconsistent. Despite winning four consecutive games, the Yankees scored just two runs in two of the wins.

The pitching had to pick up the slack on Friday. The team posted six hits and 10 strikeouts. Aaron Judge has been rather quiet this series, but thanks to a Gleyber Torres bomb to left-centerfield and Matt Carpenter getting his first home run of the season in the 4th inning, the Yanks managed to sneak by with a victory.

For the second straight game, centerfielder Aaron Hicks was out of the lineup dealing with a hamstring issue. He’s expected to make a return soon. The Yankees might like the way their team is clicking without him. They could continue to give opportunities to Judge in centerfield and Miguel Andujar in left.