Yankees: Home run ball once again ruins a Jameson Taillon outing, but better days are ahead

New York Yankees, Jameson Taillon
Feb 24, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (50) throws a pitch during live batting practice during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees dropped the series finale against Cleveland 7-3 on Sunday. Jameson Taillon, the starter for the Bombers, had pitched three scoreless innings to open the game, but things started to unravel in the fourth frame.

The Yankees’ hurler threw 36 pitches in that fourth frame, in which Cleveland scored four runs. Three hits produced a run, capped by an Amed Rosario single. But it was Franmil Reyes’ three-run bomb the one that ruined Taillon’s outing.

He left a 94 mph fastball in the fat zone of the plate, and Reyes, a known slugger, didn’t miss.

“Those are the tough ones to swallow,” Taillon told MLB.com after the game. “I thought I threw the ball really well, but this is a results league. You get to two strikes, and you’re giving up two-strike hits; that’s all it takes to win a game. Today was a streak of three or four hitters that ruined our chances at a win, so it happens quick.”

The Yankees’ righty has pitched better than his ERA suggests

After Sunday’s home run, Taillon has a 6.23 ERA so far in his first season with the Yankees, but it comes with much better underlying run-prevention metrics: his expected ERA is 2.94, his FIP is 4.19, and his expected FIP is 3.79.

Of course, we are talking about a 17.1 inning sample, but the most worrying stat in Taillon’s profile is his career-high 2.08 home runs allowed per nine innings. To lower his ERA, he will need to start suppressing the long ball.

His 0/6 BB/K ratio on Sunday (2/21 for the season) is a sign of better days ahead.

“I actually thought he finished strong today; I thought the stuff was good throughout,” Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone said. “Of the four starts, two have been really strong. Today was a little bit unfortunate, and really one mistake to Reyes that hurt.”