I know I’m late with this post, but traveling to/from this game and managing to keep working has been nuts, so I’m not getting it online until now.
Watching Taillon carry his no-hitter into the 7th was an absolute joy last night. I had some pretty great seats behind the plate in the club level where you get awesome, free food (I’ve never sat in seats like this before. I’m typically a “sit in the bleacher” guy, but I can say last night’s digs were pretty awesome). More importantly, though, I got a pretty good view of Taillon’s wicked curveball, and my, is that a nasty pitch.
I like that he can mix it in at any point in the at-bat, including as a first pitch strike. Furthermore, he’s not afraid to throw it a little high and let it drop down into the top of the zone.
Check out this full at-bat from Michael Conforto (who’s admittedly not the best hitter right now) to end the 8th. After throwing two straight fastballs with a lot of movement to get up 0-2 on Conforto, he wastes a pitch and then throws a huge, sweeping curveball to sit Conforto down.
His fastball was also working hard all night, getting good movement and even hitting a velocity above 96 on his 76th pitch of the game. Check out the nasty movement on this one:
Taillon’s biggest asset was keeping his pitch count down. While his mounderpart (can we make that portmanteau a thing?), Jacob deGrom, was super effective, he was pulled for a pinch hitter in the sixth after the Pirates pushed his pitch count up and Jung-Ho Kang gave the Buccos a 2-0 lead on a laser home run to left-center. Meanwhile, Taillon’s low pitch count allowed him to pitch through the eighth and, if he hadn’t not played baseball for the last two years, he likely would have finished the game. Regardless, this was a brilliant start from a pitcher VERY early in his MLB career and I think I’m not alone in my excitement over this.
(Sidebar: My friend Tim wasn’t able to watch and texted me “How does Taillon look? Just saw he’s only thrown sixty-some pitches in the sixth.” I just texted him “Dude. Turn it on. He looks insane.” Tim proceeded to find out that he had a no-no going, texted me about it, and Taillon proceeded to lose the no-no when he faced his next batter. So if you’re looking for a goat and a reason Taillon couldn’t get it done, blame Tim.)
The game was an awesome one to go to and I’m glad I could catch Taillon’s first career win. I’m keeping my ticket stub (which is actually just a sheet of computer paper that got crumpled up in my pocket during the game) in anticipation of his becoming the greatest pitcher the game has ever seen.
After winning the first game 4-0 on the back of homers from Jung-Ho Kang and Starling Marte and Taillon’s awesome (in the original meaning of the word) performance, the Bucs just dropped the second game by a fat score of 11-2 and I feel a little less heartened. But whatever! Taillon was awesome and I’m gonna ride that wave until another losing streak can bring me back to Earth.