The New York Yankees are preparing to start their most important six days of the season as they prepare to take on the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays consecutively.
After sweeping the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers, the Yankees find themselves in first place in the Wild Card, but they arenâ€™t out of the woods yet. Boston remains just one game behind New York, and Toronto is one game from the second playoff spot in the WC. If the Yankees donâ€™t continue winning, thereâ€™s a very real chance they miss the postseason and are watching from their couch by the beginning of October.
However, as streaky as the Yankees are, they are currently on a hot one, and they plan to start Jamison Taillon on Tuesday against Toronto in the first game of the series. Taillon has been working his way back from a partially torn tendon in his right ankle, which she suffered on September 6.
Missing 22 days of baseball, Taillon will be injected right back into the starting rotation, but with a full bullpen, the team has plenty of backup options if need be. Taillon enjoyed just one rehab start before being activated, throwing three innings and 51 pitches on September 22. He gave up two runs and struck out two batters.
So far this season, Taillon host a 4.41 ERA with 8.83 strikeouts per nine and a 33.2% ground ball rate, the lowest of his career. The second half of his season has been far more efficient, but he is still inconsistent, and the Yankees need the best version of him against the Blue Jays.
Skipper Aaron Boone is also anticipating the return of star relief arm Jonathan Loaisiga. The 26-year-old has been a stud this season, making 54 appearances, earning a 2.25 ERA and a career-high, 61.3% ground ball rate. He’s seen his fastball velocity increase by nearly 2 mph to 98.3 mph. In addition, his curveball and changeup have both experienced increases in velocity. Heâ€™s relying heavily on his sinker and newfound slider.
Jonathan has buried his fastball in favor of more off-speed and ground-ball oriented pitches, which has aided in his development significantly.
â€œI wasnâ€™t out there for the bullpen, but I talked to (pitching coach) Matt (Blake) about it,â€ Boone said of Loaisiga. â€œHe said it went really well. It looks like Lo. So now the biggest thing is making sure he recovers well (Monday), and then weâ€™ll make a call on possibly whether we want to activate himTuesday or if we want to give it another day and wait until Wednesday. Thatâ€™s just something weâ€™ll weigh.
Getting back both Taillon and LoÃ¡isiga is huge for a Yankees team trying to close out the year strong. Hopefully, they wonâ€™t suffer any setbacks, and they’ll be ready to go for the postseason, given the Yankees can secure a Wild card spot.