The Pittsburgh Pirates were handed a bit of blow late last week when Gerrit Cole left a game early with tricep soreness, and took a hit when Cole was placed on the DL yesterday. It’s seemingly all ok, however, because Jameson Taillon is here to save the day.
Taillon made his long awaited MLB debut last week against the Mets. Long awaited may be the biggest understatement in the young righty’s career. Taillon, of course, was the second overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. He blew up on the scene and was at Double-A (going 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA and a 18-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio) by his second season.
2014 would see the dreaded Tommy John surgery and he would miss all of 2015 with a sports hernia. Two seasons lost, and Taillon suddenly went from can’t-miss ace to a huge question mark.
That is until April 13, 2016, however. That was Taillon’s first live start in over two years. His Triple-A romp erased most question marks as he posted a 2.04 ERA over 10 starts, striking out 61 and walking six over 61.2 innings, all behind a 0.811 WHIP.
Any doubters he may have had remaining have now left the building. Taillon was sent back to Indianapolis after his first spot start last week against the Mets. It was a solid start — six innings of three-run ball, striking out three and walking two — but there simply wasn’t room yet for Taillon to see regular starts. Now, the Pirates are going to have to make room.
Taillon went six no-hit innings last night against the New York Mets before allowing a leadoff single to Curtis Granderson in the seventh. It wasn’t simply that he was no-hitting the Mets, it was how he was doing it. His fastball was consistently at 95 all night, and his big curve ball was on point, averaging 80 miles per hour all night and confusing Mets hitters until he left the game.
Taillon threw just 91 pitches over eight shutout innings of work. He struck out five and walked just one, and limited the Mets to one fly ball out while registering 15 on the ground. Two harmless singles, the second by James Loney, was the only damage to Taillon’s otherwise sensational night.
He now sits at 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA for his MLB career. The Pirates are now faced with the decision of whether to make a permanent slot for Taillon upon Cole’s return or once again option him back to Triple-A in order to limit his recovery season. It will be a very difficult decision, however, Taillon may have made it for them after last night.
One thing is for certain. Tyler Glasnow is almost ready as well. The Pittsburgh Pirates are maybe a month away from having one of the most promising rotations in the MLB. No team would want to have to face Francisco Liriano, Cole, Taillon and Glasnow in a playoff series.
Liriano better be watching over his shoulder. If he doesn’t return to form quickly, he may become a back-end rotation arm in this exciting rotation.