Yankees’ Jameson Taillon details the key to his dominance against Pittsburgh

Alexander Wilson
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 took on the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday afternoon, falling 2-3 in the rain. However, they got a nice look at starting pitching acquisition Jameson Taillon.

Taillon hadn’t pitched since 2019 when he lasted just 37.1 innings before undergoing Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. He was teammates with Gerrit Cole for quite some time in Pittsburgh, who advocated for his quality, which ultimately convinced GM Brian Cashman to target him during the off-season.

Cole was expected to pitch against the Pirates, but due to the rain, he settled for a live BP session instead. Taillon ended up starting, getting in 2.0 innings of work and picking up four strikeouts in the process.

“Yeah, I thought it was good work, I’m happy we got the game in, I wasn’t so sure with the rain,” Taillon said. “That first start being only seven pitches, there’s some things I haven’t experienced in a couple years. Like in-game situations, runners on, holding running, mixing my tempo, mixing my looks to second with a runner there. Even the little things like going through sign packages with the catcher, that’s a situation I haven’t been in a while. So I was actually pretty happy to get put in that spot, and put in a spot where I had to make some pitchers with traffic on.”

The Yankees are hoping Taillon can continue improving, and he’s already starting to gain momentum:

Taillon has begun experimenting with different pitch sequences and strategies. He has incorporated more leg into his delivery, which will hopefully mitigate any future arm injuries. Having already suffered two Tommy John surgeries, Taillon is trying everything to avoid the potential for a third. By using more of his lower body, he can take significant stress off his arm.

“We’re still in the information gathering stages, but for sure I’ve noticed pitching up in the zone to both side of the plate,” Taillon said. “I used to pitch up to lefties a good amount, but righties I was like sinkers in, and I would just throw my four-seam down and away. But like I got a strikeout today on a four-seam up in the top of zone. For me that’s really exciting, because it’s a pitch in the past I’ve just never put a ton of emphasis on.”

Back in 2018, Jameson pitched 191 innings and recorded a 3.20 ERA. If he can replicate that performance and pitch even better, the Yankees will have a fantastic starting rotation composed of Cole, Corey Kluber, Taillon, Jordan Montgomery, and potentially Domingo German.