It is often said that when a manager lifts a pitcher when he’s cruising and we, the baseball viewers, don’t understand why, we later learn that the pitcher told the manager “I’m done,” or there’s some minor injury issue.
Today, Jameson Taillon, who has been a flashpoint of criticisim this year for having a season’s worth of rough outings after being signed to a four-year, $68 million deal, was dealing. He threw five no-hit innings, allowed a two-out single in the sixth and that was it, apart from a leadoff walk.
Was he done? We simply do not know and, apparently, aren’t going to be told:
David Ross pretty much wouldn’t answer why he pulled Jameson Taillon after 77 pitches and 6 innings. “He was done.”— John Dietz (@JDietzSports) September 8, 2023
Taillon said he still felt great but understood the decision based on fact bullpen was so rested.
As for me? I remain befuddled. Dude is cruising. Leave him in.
I’m befuddled too, at that one, especially since Zac Gallen was basically matching Taillon pretty much every inning. Gallen’s manager, Torey Lovullo, let Gallen finish the game even though his closer was warming up. Gallen threw 107 pitches and completed a shutout, the second of his MLB career, and the Cubs lost to the D-backs 1-0, the first time they’ve lost consecutive home games to the same opponent since early July.
Taillon was just brilliant. He got helped out by some nice defense from Dansby Swanson [VIDEO].
Just look at some of these nasty pitches!
Jameson Taillon, Painted 80mph Curveball. ️ pic.twitter.com/O8LGwUKYBo— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 8, 2023
Jameson Taillon, Nasty 88mph Cutter. ✂️— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 8, 2023
6th K thru 4. pic.twitter.com/WjSFHz1Wl2
Taillon wound up striking out nine. Here are those nine K’s [VIDEO].
The bullpen was well rested — yes, that’s true. Julian Merryweather threw a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out all three hitters he faced.
Jose Cuas allowed a single and walk before a strikeout, then departed for Mark Leiter Jr., who struck out the first D-backs hitter he faced.
The call on the field was a catch by Seiya Suzuki, which would have ended the inning. The D-backs challenged and you can see on the video that the ball just barely hit the ground before landing in Suzuki’s glove. Seiya did a nice job holding up the ball, which is likely why the out call was made, but... it wound up being an RBI single.
The Cubs got a leadoff single from Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth, but he was forced by Jeimer Candelario. After a fly to center by Nick Madrigal — the Cubs continued to hit the ball hard for outs in this game — pinch-runner Miles Mastrobuoni was thrown out trying to steal to end the inning [VIDEO].
The D-backs stole four bases on Cubs catchers today. That’s going to have to change if this team wants to go anywhere in the postseason.
Adbert Alzolay, who hadn’t thrown since last Friday and was reported to be “dealing with something,” threw an uneventful ninth, touching 97 a couple of times, so hopefully he’s fine going forward.
In the bottom of the ninth, Mike Tauchman — what great AB’s he works — walked with one out. But Nico Hoerner flied to right and Ian Happ forced Tauchman on a very close play to end the game [VIDEO].
More on the somewhat inexplicable pull of Taillon:
Me to David Ross: Can you explain Jameson Taillon was pulled after 6 innings?— John Dietz (@JDietzSports) September 8, 2023
A: “He was done.”
Q: Why was he done?
A: “Because I chose to take him out of the game. That's kind of my choice, right?”
Q: Usually guys with 77 pitches go a little longer.
OK is right, I guess. Obviously, the Cubs staff as a whole did just fine in this game. Giving up one run shouldn’t cost you the game, but the Cubs simply did not hit in this one. That’s just as much the story of this loss than the pull of Taillon. The Cubs hadn’t lost a game 1-0 in more than a year, since a 1-0, one-hit shutout thrown by Jordan Montgomery of the Cardinals August 22, 2022.
Again, not the end of the world, and remember that Arizona is a pretty good team also fighting for a playoff spot. The Cubs now stand 2½ games behind the Brewers and also 2½ behind the Phillies for the top wild card spot, both of those pending tonight’s results. The Brewers are in New York to face the Yankees and the Phillies host the Marlins.
The Cubs will try to break this baby losing streak Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field, where we hope the weather will be better than the drizzly, cool Octobrish mess we had Friday. Justin Steele will start for the Cubs and Merrill Kelly will go for the D-backs. Game time is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.
Would you have pulled Jameson Taillon after six innings and 77 pitches?
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