Game 86, Yankees at Mariners

marc w · July 6, 2021 at 5:37 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Justus Sheffield vs. Jameson Taillon, 7:10pm

The Yankees come to town in turmoil. Another late-inning collapse by the previously untouchable Aroldis Chapman pushed them to 42-41 and 4th place in the AL East. They’re 10.5 games behind Boston and 6 back of Tampa. Their offense – a murderer’s row on paper – ranks 20th in fWAR, just ahead of the M’s in 25th. Despite a pitching staff that ranks 3rd by FIP-based WAR, their ERA ranks 11th. They’ve underperformed their base runs and seem like the anti-Mariners in just about every way: bad in the clutch despite immense talent at essentially every position.

Tonight’s starter was supposed to be their Gerrit Cole clone: another former Pirates prospect who’d been sporadically successful/healthy but who possessed undeniably great raw stuff. And it’s partially working, as Taillon’s K rate is nearing 25%, the highest of his short career. He’s throwing his mid-90s fastball up in the zone and generating plenty of swings and misses, but his ERA has spiked to well over 5 in New York.

The culprit’s been home runs. As Taillon’s searched for extra whiffs on his Sewald-style low-efficiency/cut-four-seam, he’s pushed his ground ball rate to below 33%, a far cry from the mid-40s he ran in Pittsburgh. But unlike Cole who had more velocity *and* extra-sticky goop to maximize his spin and movement, Taillon’s sinking four-seamer has been hit for seven dingers in the early going.

Worse, his secondary pitches have all backed up a bit. He’s got a change in the high-80s that looks great, but that batters are destroying this year. He has a slider at 87 and a curve at 81, and he’s able to throw all of them from a pretty consistent point. It just…hasn’t mattered. Lefties have had some trouble with Taillon’s fastball, but are absolutely crushing any non-heaters they come across, while righties are holding the secondaries to a draw, but are doing better against the fastball.

Justus Sheffield’s had an up-and-down season, and tonight’s task is a tough one despite his home park’s offense-suppressing ways and the Yankees’ struggles. One of the reasons fans have latched on to as a way to explain the Yankees’ struggles is that their line-up is overly right-handed. They do have slightly better stats against lefties, but their platoon splits aren’t that wide. The problem is that Sheffield’s got platoon splits too, and he’s really struggled against righties this year. His slider continues to be an effective pitch against RHBs and LHBs, but the change and sinker have taken a step back this year.

1: Crawford, SS
2: Haniger, RF
3: Seager, 3B
4: France, 1B
5: Fraley, CF
6: Torrens, C
7: Bauers, DH
8: Moore, 2B
9: Long, 2B
SP: Sheffield

Tacoma (28-23, 2nd in their division) beat up on Reno 15-7 at Cheney last night despite being out-hit. Jose Marmolejos, Jose Godoy, and Jantzen Witte all homered. Marmolejos’ slash line in AAA is now .349/.452/.679. David Huff gets the start for Tacoma tonight in the AAA-West’s getaway day.

Arkansas (27-26, 4th in their division) hosts Frisco (#1 in the AA-Central) tonight behind Alejandro Requena.

Everett (34-18, #1 in High-A West) travels down to Eugene to face the Emeralds. Juan Then starts for the Frogs. It’s been a somewhat disappointing start thus far for Then, who’s posted 32Ks in 34 innings, giving up 22 runs on 33 hits and 15 walks. That all works out to a 5.56 ERA.

Modesto (32-22, 3rd in their division) hosts the Stockton Ports tonight. Modesto’s won 8 in a row.


7 Responses to “Game 86, Yankees at Mariners”

  1. Stevemotivateir on July 6th, 2021 8:07 pm

    Well, Sheffield is getting lit by his former club.

  2. eponymous coward on July 6th, 2021 8:24 pm

    Good thing there’s depth in Tacoma, like (checks notes) a rotation with multiple bullpen days plus the only Rainier contending for the PCL ERA title has an ERA around 5.

    Hmm, is Taijuan Walker available?

  3. Stevemotivateir on July 6th, 2021 8:33 pm

    Can’t send AA pitchers straight to MLB this year, either.

  4. SeattleDan on July 6th, 2021 10:31 pm

    It’s going to be difficult to win consistently when they keep rolling Sheff out there every 5-6 days. Clearly the weakest link in the rotation.

  5. Stevemotivateir on July 7th, 2021 7:25 am

    Brutal game, but still just one game.

    It will be Interesting to see if Jerry pulls off a trade for a starter, stopgap or otherwise. The depth was exhausted once Gilbert was promoted and Santiago was called up–and he might not even be an option before Dunn returns.

    The alternative is Dugger and multiple shots of whiskey.

  6. globalalpha on July 8th, 2021 8:27 pm

    Nice one today, needed that. How many more starts before Marc has to post the “Why can’t anyone hit Logan Gilbert?” article. So much fun to watch him pitch.

  7. Stevemotivateir on July 9th, 2021 9:26 am

    Gilbert has been outstanding. I would argue that he is already Seattle’s best starter.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.