I don’t know, I was already having a bad day before the Yankees began play on Monday, and the game didn’t help. Maybe it was a particularly annoying crowd, maybe it was an absent offense, maybe it was John Sterling and Michael Kay being much worse than last week, and maybe it was because I haven’t eaten since breakfast. Either way, if you skipped out today, you didn’t miss much, as the Yankees dropped this one to the Phillies 4-0.
This was Jameson Taillon’s worst outing of the spring, which is a credit to how good he’s looked in exhibition play. His primary job was to throw 60 pitches, and he cruised through the first two innings, striking out five and sitting 93 with the fastball. Although he ran into some contact trouble in the third by allowing five consecutive balls in play, only one of them was in excess of 90 mph off the bat.
Sometimes that just happens to a pitcher, but I thought I should take a look at possible reasons why. Taillon’s fastball was up above the swing plane, similar to his other spring starts, but he threw his slider more frequently, and much more in the zone. The slider made up 27 percent of the repertoire today, compared to 17.5 percent on the spring overall. It’s entirely possibly that he was trying to work with the slider more, or engineer more contact, to retire batters faster and go deeper on that 60-pitch limit.
Justin Wilson’s terrible spring continued, as he gave up a two-run bomb to Didi Gregorius to make it 4-0 Phillies in the seventh. He then completely lost the zone, spiking a ball to load the count against Odúbel Herrera, and signaled to the dugout that something was wrong. After losing Asher Wojciechowski yesterday and Zack Britton a week and a half ago, the Yankees have even more injury-related uncertainty in their relief corps, and we’re crossing our fingers that nothing is seriously wrong with Wilson, even though the team did announce that he departed with shoulder tightness:
LHP Justin Wilson left tonight’s game with tightness in his left shoulder and will be reevaluated tomorrow.— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) March 23, 2021
During the postgame, Aaron Boone said that Wilson will undergo an MRI tomorrow.
Aaron Nola, meanwhile, completely dominated the Yankees, allowing just two baserunners — Giancarlo Stanton singled and was hit by a pitch, before adding another base hit once Nola left the game — while striking out nine in six innings of work. The righthander notched a 40 percent whiff rate, including swings and misses on more than half of his curveballs. Just a stellar performance and if he can replicate nights like tonight in the regular season, the Phillies look a whole lot scarier.
Even after Nola left the game, Stanton was the only guy to record a hit. Hopefully, the regulars are getting all the outs out of their bats now before real baseball starts next week. Corey Kluber goes tomorrow for the Yankees as they head to Lakeland for a daytime matchup with the Tigers. First pitch is on Fox Sports Detroit at 1:05pm EDT.