I’m not sure what the Cubs are thinking about regarding Jameson Taillon. Whatever it is, doing what they’re doing now is not helping him or the team.
I am obviously no medical expert, but it sure seems like the groin injury that made him miss a couple of starts in April is still bothering Taillon.
Taillon before the injury: three starts, 14 innings, four walks, 16 strikeouts, 4.50 ERA, 1.357 WHIP, no HR, 1.87 FIP
The lack of long balls, decent BB and K numbers and a good FIP hints that he was pitching in a bit of bad luck. The 4.50 ERA isn’t great, but it’s not awful at the beginning of a season, either. Acknowledged, it’s a small sample size.
Taillon since returning: four starts, 12⅔ innings, six walks, 11 strikeouts, 12.08 ERA, 2.132 WHIP, five HR, 8.03 FIP — yes, another fairly small sample size.
There is, in my view, zero chance that Taillon could have turned into a DFA candidate simply by missing a couple of starts with an injury. Conclusion: He’s probably still injured.
Look at Taillon’s pitches in this game — all over the place [VIDEO].
A healthy pitcher doesn’t give up home runs like this [VIDEO].
Everyone pretty much could have gone home after Kyle Schwarber’s grand slam, because that was enough runs for the Phillies, who wound up going on to win 12-3. Look how far that Schwarbomb went!
#Cubs 0 @ #Phillies 4 [B1-1o]:— Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) May 20, 2023
Kyle Schwarber hits a grand slam (11) to RF
Hit: 435ft, 107mph, 35°
Pitch: 81.1mph Curveball (RHP Jameson Taillon, 4)
Taillon got hit hard. Michael Rucker, who came in after David Ross mercifully gave Taillon the rest of the afternoon off after he took 62 pitches to record seven outs, gave up hits that charged a couple of runs to Taillon’s account. Then he gave up runs of his own.
The Cubs, far out of this game, did get on the board when Dansby Swanson hit this two-run homer in the sixth [VIDEO].
So, that’s good. So is this, yet another home run from Christopher Morel [VIDEO].
Saturday’s game was Morel’s 10th of the season and that was his seventh home run. That sets a franchise record. More from BCB’s JohnW53:
Christopher Morel is the first Cub ever to hit seven home runs in his first 10 games of a season. Only two players ever hit more: Mike Schmidt of the Phillies in 1976, and Luis Gonzalez of the Diamondbacks in 2001. Both hit nine.
Morel is the 17th player to hit seven. The first was Johnny Mize of the Giants, in 1947. The most recent before now: Aaron Judge of the Yankees, in 2020.
Among the others: Cody Bellinger, Barry Bonds, Dave Kingman, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, Hank Sauer and Larry Walker.
The rest of this game? I’ll spare you the carnage.
Here is my prescription for this ailing pitching staff, not that I’m a doctor or anything. Send Taillon to the injured list. Bring Javier Assad back, because this staff might need some extended innings over the next few days. That will leave only three starters on this team: Justin Steele, who’s starting Sunday, Drew Smyly, who should go Tuesday against the Mets, and Marcus Stroman, who should start Wednesday against the Mets.
After Wednesday, send Nick Burdi down and activate Kyle Hendricks to make the start Thursday against the Mets. Hendricks is starting the first game of a doubleheader tonight for Iowa in Indianapolis. For Friday’s game against the Reds, bring Hayden Wesneski back and either send Assad or Jeremiah Estrada down.
Problem solved, or so we will hope.
But one thing appears to be certain: Jameson Taillon is still being bothered by the groin injury he suffered in mid-April. Let him take time to get healthy. Having him pitch like this is not helping him or the team.
The Cubs do still have a chance to get out of Philadelphia with a series win. As noted earlier, Justin Steele will start for the Cubs. Taijuan Walker will get the call for the Phillies. Game time is 12:35 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (and MLB Network outside the Cubs and Phillies market territories).
Site note: Sunday’s game preview will post at 10:30 a.m. CT.