Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Preview: Sale Vs. Taillon
On Wednesday night, the Pirates will return to action after a days rest to continue their series against the Boston Red Sox.
The matchup that everyone will be looking at is the matchup between Chris Sale, Boston’s biggest offseason acquisition, and Jameson Taillon, the Pirates’ up and coming phenom.
After seven seasons in the Windy City, Sale was given a new set of socks, when the White Sox traded him to the Red Sox in exchange for a handful of players.
Sale has been one the best left-handed pitchers in baseball this decade, compiling a 74-50 record with a 3.00 ERA, in 1110 IP. While with the White Sox, Sale became an ace, establishing himself as a dominant pitcher in the AL. In that time, he set the record for strikeouts in a game, 15. He also was the AL strikeout leader in 2015 and was a five-time all-star between 2012 and 2016.
What Sale brings to his game is three main pitches: a fastball, which reaches 93-99 mph, a slider which reaches 79-83 mph, and a changeup, which reaches 84-89 mph. Sale’s slider has had an effective rate of 43%, and so there’s a chance that that will be used to mess with Pirates hitters.
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Sale also carries with him a 15-4 lifetime record in the month of April, with a 3.31 ERA. Look for Sale to capitalize on these strengths tonight against the Pirates, even though the Pirates success against lefties has been very good in the last few seasons.
Taillon, on the other hand, is a new face to pro baseball. Drafted by the Pirates out of high school in 2010, Taillon rose through the minors and joined the Pirates in June of last year. In such a brief time, Taillon tallied a 5-4 record with a 3.38 ERA in 104 IP.
Taillon for years was talked about being a major part of the Pirates rotation despite a history of injuries hampering his progress.
Taillon has a variety of pitches he can choose from, among them a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a curve, and a changeup. Look for Taillon to rely heavily on his four-seamer and curveball, as they are his most effective pitches.
Overall, what can we expect in this pitching matchup? Well, we can expect the hype that comes from it.
Sale is making his debut in a Boston Red Sox jersey, while this is the beginning of Taillon’s rise to being a top pitcher. This is really one of those games that has the excitement and buildup you’d see on Opening Day or on Sunday Night baseball; yet, it’s happening on a regular Wednesday night in April.