The Yankees are down 2-1 in the ALDS to the Cleveland Guardians after a heartbreaking loss in Game 3, where the Yankees were up 5-3 in the 9th before 5 singles won it for Cleveland.
Gerrit Cole takes the mound in a pivotal Game 4 matchup as the Yankees look to keep their season alive, but if they’re to win tonight, they have their game plan mapped out for a winner-take-all Game 5. Jameson Taillon is set to take the mound against the Cleveland Guardians, a matchup that raises a lot of questions about the Yankees’ potential bullpen usage in a Game 5 matchup.
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Using Jameson Taillon As an Opener
Jameson Taillon excelled first time through the order in his career, with a 3.17 ERA and 18.5% K-BB%. Taillon only seeing the lineup once and then immediately being followed up by someone like Nestor Cortes, who’s a lefty and could get a lineup built around trying to hit a RHP like Taillon could play to the Yankees’ advantage.
Taillon struggled in his playoff debut when he took the loss in Game 2, but a lot of those big hits came off of soft contact and sloppy defense, which doesn’t reflect on Taillon’s talent level. He was averaging 95.8 MPH on his Four-Seamer, and with that added velocity and improved stuff, there’s a good chance he’s a better version of himself in those first 2-3 innings.
Why Not Domingo German?
Domingo German’s lack of usage in this postseason is puzzling to many, seeing he posted a 3.61 ERA across 72.1 IP for the Yankees. That being said, his lack of strikeouts (19.4% K%) and underwhelming quality of contact (40.6% Hard Hit%) make him a tricky matchup for a Cleveland team that loves putting the ball in play. There are more whiffs to be had in Taillon’s arsenal, better stuff, and ultimately more experience as a reliever from Domingo German.
The Yankees want their players to be in their most comfortable and productive roles, and while many Yankee fans may be displeased with Taillon getting the nod over German, FIP and xERA would suggest that German is the worse option between the two. Run prevention is key, but in October, your regular season ERA is meaningless.
Taillon will need to mix up all his pitches well, but it’s all for naught if the Yankees and ace Gerrit Cole don’t handle business tonight.