NEW YORK — Yankees starter Jameson Taillon may not be in New York start rotation for the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians, but manager Aaron Boone sees the right-hander playing a crucial role off the bullpen.
“I think Jamo could fit anywhere from meaningful innings in a given game, to a big pitch in a high-leverage late point, to finishing a game,” Boone said Sunday. “I really feel like he has the make-up to handle whatever we throw at him.”
You read that right. Boone sees Taillon as one of the many poor people who could end a ball game in Division Series and beyond.
That stems from the uncertainty in the back end of the New York bullpen going into the playoffs. Clay Holmes is in line to return from his shoulder strain, but even if he is healthy, there are still questions about his effectiveness. The Closer was an All-Star but posted a 4.84 ERA in the second half with just four saves.
From there, other helpers such as Wandy Peralta, Scott Effross, Jonathan Loáisiga, Lou Trivino and others could be called in safe situations.
With less traditional reels and shorter lines than ever before, October brings Taillon into play. The right-hander has started in each of his 143 MLB appearances, but New York doesn’t necessarily need him as a starter in a best-of-five series with two early days off. It’s possible – maybe in Game 4 – but more likely he’ll come in as a helper.
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The same applies to Domingo Germán, who spent a large part of his season, which was shortened due to injury, in rotation this year. Germán has plenty of bum experience, making him another option to add length.
Verdict: Don’t be surprised if Taillon jogs out of the bullpen at points during this series against the Guardians. As Boone went on to say Monday, it “takes everyone” in the postseason to string wins together.
In 32 starts, Taillon posted a 3.91 ERA and batted 151 batters in 177.1 innings. While he’s started the year incredibly well, the right-hander ran into trouble over the summer. He finished with 26 legal home runs, 20 of them in his last 19 starts of the year.
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