Jameson Taillon inked a four-year contract with the Chicago Cubs in the offseason. That, plus a fiery of moves, solidified that the Cubs were ready to compete again. It hasn’t been working out well for Taillon; entering this month, he had an 0-3 record with an 8.04 ERA. To make matters even worse, the Cubs were 0-8 in games started by the right-hander, as his ERA in May alone stood at 10.90.
There weren’t many aspects of Taillon’s starts to provide any optimism for Cubs fans. Especially with Taillon set to start the opening game of a tough West Coast road trip against the fearsome San Diego Padres lineup on Friday. Instead, Taillon spun his best start of the year, pitching 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball en route to a 2-1 Cubs win.
Jameson Taillon’s Game
One of the signature parts of Jameson Taillon’s game has persisted throughout his time in the majors. Between Pittsburgh and New York, he could limit walks and hard contact. He’s continued to limit hard contact to an extent, sitting in the 75th percentile of the average exit velocity allowed. Walks, however, have been more of an issue for him in the Windy City. He holds a 6.6 percent walk rate which is respectable but pales compared to his 4.4 percent walk rate in 2022. That placed him in the top six percent of all qualified pitchers. Plus, he walked at least one batter every start of April and May but did not issue free passes to Padres batters on Friday.
Taillon Is Doing Better in Certain Areas
Jameson Taillon has held the Padres to a 1-for-16 showing through five shutout innings.
Said Ross pregame: “He’s gonna be here a long time and we’ve got a lot of faith in him. That’s why we sought him out this offseason.” pic.twitter.com/gf5dkIyele
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 3, 2023
Alongside his lack of walks allowed, Taillon did a much better job in another area. He did a fantastic job of preventing hard contact from Padres batters. According to Statcast, he allowed six hard-hit balls, only one of which resulted in an extra-base hit. Meanwhile, his sweeper, a pitch he has only started using this season, bolstered his effectiveness. It drew soft contact from opposing hitters, giving up only one hit on Friday. That single off Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a measly 60.8 mph.
Far From Perfect
Taillon’s start on Friday was far from perfect. He did allow some solid contact to hitters that fortunately turned into outs more often than runs. In addition, his line from the game should be some cause for hope for both his and the Cubs’ seasons. With Justin Steele still out with an injury, the Cubs will need to rely much more on Taillon to go deeper into games and replicate his past successes. He’s also got Kyle Hendricks and Marcus Stroman, which is depth in the rotation.
Suppose he can continue to limit walks and effectively use his sweeper while preventing too much solid contact. In that case, Taillon can be an impact player for the Cubs as they look to get back to .500 and continue to compete in a weak NL Central.
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