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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/11/22

MLB’s baseball problems, times two; Taillon’s new toy; the worst day of Nestor Cortes’ life; Gil gets the ball Thursday

Pittsburgh Pirates v Detroit Tigers - Game Two Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

New York Times | Benjamin Hoffman: We kick off with a couple stories about the baseball itself. MLB has been plagued with issues about consistency over the past five seasons, with “juiced” balls, “dead” balls, and sometimes both in the same game. Players have begun to voice their disapproval with the ever-changing ball, and it’s becoming a significant stain on MLB’s credibility.

FanGraphs | Jim Albert & Alan Nathan: So we know that the ball is inconsistent, and that players are complaining about it, but what is the effect on the game itself? FG goes deep on how the ball is actually performing in the air this season, and if it feels like more fly balls are dying than usual, that feeling certainly seems borne out in the data. The drag coefficient of the baseball has increased, meaning there’s more resistance applied to balls in flight, and subsequently less distance travelled.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Jameson Taillon is finally starting to put it all together for the Yankees, but he’s looked better this season, brought along largely by his miniscule 1.9-percent walk rate in his first five starts. A big part of that improved control is the use of a new cut fastball, reducing the frequency of an often-flat fastball that he struggled to keep in the edges of the zone. Our own Peter Brody has covered the club-wide interest in the cutter, but as Peter also explored last week, Taillon above anyone else has perhaps been the biggest beneficiary of the new pitch.

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: It’s pretty good to be Nestor Cortes right now. The lefty took a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Monday, and has overall been the best pitcher on a sterling Yankee staff so far this season. Of course, it hasn’t always been like this, as Cortes was once cut by one of the worst teams in recent memory, not good enough to hold down a roster spot on the 47-win 2018 Baltimore Orioles. One of the things that makes Cortes so likable is how he’s remained level-headed while ascending to the top of the pitching leaderboards, and with stories like this, it’s easy to see where his humility comes from.

Yahoo! Sports | Phillip Martinez: The Yankees are in the midst of a 23-game-in-22 days run, putting strain on the pitching staff and necessitating the callup of Luis Gil to start Thursday’s game in Chicago. Gil, 23, dazzled at times last year, but has struggled to avoid the free pass both with the Yankees in 2021 and at Triple-A Scranton this season.