Jameson Taillon’s History Against The Brewers

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Jameson Taillon takes the ball for the Pirates to start the home stand against the Milwaukee Brewers in a series the Pittsburgh Pirates almost must need to win in order to stay relevant in the Wild Card.

Jameson Taillon has made 13 career starts, with number 14 coming tonight. Tonight will also be the fourth time the young right hander has made a start against the Brewers this season. That equates to 28.6 percent of his starts occurring against just this one time. He’s had a mixed bag of results against the Brewers in his three previous outings, so let’s take a look at those three previous outings.

First Start July 19

In his first game against the Brewers, Taillon pitched well. He went six innings and allowed only one run, but the most interesting note is how he did it on 65 pitches. Taillon struck out three and he did what he always does, he walked zero. This game also featured Taillon get a high ground ball ratio of 60 percent. He was on point, and most of this occurred after he got hit in the back of the head by a line drive in the second inning with one out.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Jul 24, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (50) deliver a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Taillon relied heavily on his fastball, using it 63.1 percent of the time, and the pitch averaged 94.3 miles per hour. He also relied on his hook, sitting at 80.7 miles per hour, as he used it 30 .8 percent of the time. His change was used 6.2 percent of the time, as he used it as a show pitch, and the change averaged 87.3 miles per hour.

Taillon was able to record an o-swing percentage (swings at balls out of the zone) of 35.7 percent, which is above his season mark of 34.8 percent. His swinging strike percentage was only 6.2 percent, which is below his season mark of 8.3 percent. But what he did was generate soft contact 20 percent of the time, about five percent higher than his season mark. By getting lots of soft contact and ground balls, Taillon was able to twirl a gem while being efficient.

Second Start July 30

Jameson Taillon’s second start against the Milwaukee Brewers sung a similar tune as in his first start. The young right hander once again went six innings and he allowed two hits. Taillon allowed six hits, but he did not walk a batter, which is a common theme. This time around, Jameson doubled his strikeouts, as he struck out six batters. He was not as efficient as before, a look at the strikeouts could have told you that, but it took Jameson 92 pitches to get through six this time around.

As impressive as Taillon’s ground ball rate was last time, it was even more impressive in this start. He was able to get Brewers batters to hit a ground ball 70.6 percent of the time. The only problem being, Taillon’s soft contact percentage was 16.7 percent, but they’re still ground balls, which are better than line drives and fly balls. His swinging strike percentage of 13.7 percent was impressive, which considering his first start against the Brewers makes some sense as it helps balance it back to the average. Taillon also had another great outing in terms of o-swing percentage, 37.5 percent.

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Jameson Taillon’s pitch selection was rather like that July 19 start. His fastball sat at 93.3 miles per hour, and he used it 64.1 percent of the time. His curveball was used 29.4 percent of the time, and it sat at 79.4 miles per hour. Taillon once again his 86.3 mile per hour change as a show, using it only 6.5 percent of the time. Another good start for the 24-year-old.

Third Start August 27

In Taillon’s most recent start against the Brew Crew, and most recent start in general, Taillon pitcher poorly. The 2010 first round pick lasted only three innings as he allowed five runs on seven hits. Those five runs were a career high, and he also walked two batters, which matched a career high. This occurred after the Pirates gave him a 1-0 lead after the top of the first, but he gave up four in the first, and another in the third. The last out Jameson got was on a double, in which Starling Marte and Jordy Mercer teamed up to nail Orlando Arcia out at the plate.

The biggest difference for the young hurler came in terms of batted balls. A ground ball machine, as he demonstrated in his two earlier starts against Milwaukee, only got 33.3 percent ground balls. In fact, it was evenly split among flyballs and lined drives for Taillon. He still got swings 37.9 percent of the time on pitches out of the zone, and he has a swinging strike percentage of 12.3.

Jameson still relied on his fastball, just not as much. His heater sat at 93.7 miles per hour and was used 60.4 percent of the time. The curve was used more at 32.1 percent, and it sat at 80.2 miles per hour. Taillon used his change 7.6 percent of the time, the highest against the Brewers but still below his average, and it sat at 85.8 miles per hour. It was the worst start of his young career, mainly because of the lack go ground balls.

Related Story: Pirates Look To Rebound Against The Brewers

What to expect tonight

Jameson will look to have a rebound start, as the Pirates need a win after being swept in the Windy City by the Cubs. Despite the teams league high 25.6 percent strikeout rate, the Brewers do walk 10.2 percent of the time, ranking behind only the Chicago Cubs. As a whole, the Brewers area far worse on the road than they are at home. They have a 20-41 record away from Miller Park, they’re 37-35 at home, and area averaging 3.8 runs per game on the road.

Not only do the Brewers feature the worst record on the road, their 26-52 record against teams over .500 also ranks second worst. Against right-handed pitching the Brewers are only 32-60, also ranking second worst in the league.

Jameson has the upper hand in his start tonight, despite that start on the 27th of August. Look for Taillon to rebound in this game and for the Pirates to handle their business against the Brewers like they have all year.

*Numbers from baseball-reference and fangraphs