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Aaron Judge finally made it to Roger Maris’ mark of 61 home runs. With one swing of the bat (and 60 other great ones, too), he has etched his name beside one of the team’s all-time great players. But there are still games to be played as the Yankees enter the final week of the season with matchups against the Baltimore Orioles (three at Yankee Stadium) and Texas Rangers (four games in Arlington, including a doubleheader), which means there are more chances for him to pass the milestone and set the record himself.
Given his recent stretch with fewer homers — seven games between his 60th and 61st home runs — most fans believe that he will hit one or two more by season’s end. However, with all of the media and fan attention whenever he comes up to bat, maybe all he needs for the dam to be broken is reaching the milestone. Of course, the watch will still be there, but he has already accomplished what he set out to do. It only takes one domino to fall.
Something that the Yankees have needed to figure out with the return of Luis Severino and other pitchers in the bullpen is the rotation for the postseason. It’s not unfair to be concerned about the health of Severino as a starter, but there doesn’t appear to be any room for him as a reliever. Everyone knows what kind of talent he possesses, so don’t take this as doubt in him to produce. It’s more doubt in his body to keep up with his high-velocity play style. Gerrit Cole is the apparent ace,, and all-star pitcher Nestor Cortes has staked his position as third man up. The fourth spot is up for grabs.
So who are Yankees fans taking?
A firm 68 percent of Yankees fans believe that Jameson Taillon should be the fourth starter in the postseason rotation. It shouldn’t be terribly surprising that many people don’t trust Domingo Germán in that position. What’s more interesting is that trade deadline acquisition Frankie Montas has not earned the favor of Yankees fans at all. It’s not unwarranted — particularly since he’d likely only be available as an opener — but since coming to The Bronx, he has not performed as well as many expected him to at home and away.
Taillon, on the other hand, has had an excellent season and will be a perfect back-of-the-rotation starter. He has a 2.3 fWAR with a 3.83 ERA and 3.74 xFIP, which aren’t world-beating numbers, but they’re better than most rotations can boast at the back end. His most recent outing of 7.1 innings pitched with two earned runs allowed in the AL East clincher isn’t anything to scoff at and is just one start that showcased the kind of length and production he can provide.
There have been some suspicious outings from him, but when Taillon can dial up the fastball and get good spin on his curveball, he can provide top-of-the-rotation stuff. As of now, he appears to be the correct choice. The Yankees have locked up the AL East and now can evaluate the way they want to approach the postseason rotation. Taillon is certainly part of the equation.