The 25-year-old Taillon was fantastic Monday against the Colorado Rockies. In his first start back in the majors, Taillon gave up five hits and two walks over five scoreless innings. He struck out five and earned the win during the 7-2 victory.
Though Taillon was cruising, the Pirates opted to pull him after just 82 pitches. In his final rehab start, Taillon threw 97 pitches, so it’s possible he could have gone longer. At the same time, manager Clint Hurdle likely didn’t want to push him too hard in his first game back. With a healthy 4-0, Hurdle opted to go to the bullpen a little early.
Even if Taillon was pulled prematurely, it’s tough to argue with his results. He completely shut down the team with the best record in the National League over five innings.
The fact that Taillon’s first start back came against the Rockies should not be ignored. Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis was diagnosed with testicular cancer last fall, and is working his back to the majors. Taillon has been in contact with Bettis since he was diagnosed. Bettis was one of the people who encouraged Taillon to get back on the mound shortly after his surgery.
Before the start, the Rockies tweeted their support for Taillon.
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) June 12, 2017
Things may not have gone their way, but kudos to the Rockies for acknowledging that Taillon’s situation transcends the game.
After years as one of the team’s top prospects, Taillon was looking for a breakout in his first full season as a starter. Though he missed five weeks after surgery, Taillon’s numbers are in line with his prospect promise. After Monday’s start, Taillon has a 2.90 ERA over seven starts. He’s struck out 35 batters in 40 1/3 innings.
Shortly after he was diagnosed, Taillon put up a message on Twitter vowing to “use every setback as an opportunity for growth.” On Monday, he delivered on that promise.
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