Yankees prove Paul O’Neill wrong with their offensive meltdown

Paul O’ Neill is at Yankee Stadium during a game of the Yankees.
Michael Bennington
Saturday July 8, 2023

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As the Yankees got ready to play the Cubs on Friday, Paul O’Neill, a former New York outfielder and YES analyst, confidently asserted that their hitters held an advantage against starter Jameson Taillon due to their past experience facing him. However, his expectations were shattered as the players he anticipated to excel failed to deliver.

As the game progressed, the Yankees’ offense struggled, visibly struggling to connect with Taillon’s pitches. Fans expressed their dissatisfaction with each scoreless inning, culminating in a disappointing 3-0 loss for the team. From a starter with an ERA of 6.93, he began to resemble a top-tier National League Cy Young Award candidate thanks to those who spearheaded the Yankees offense.

The Yankees’ offensive downcast came at the worst time

The Yankees were not unfamiliar with Taillon’s pitching style either, as he had spent the previous two seasons with the team before leaving in free agency. However, despite this knowledge, Taillon managed to stifle their offense effectively.

The Yankees (48-41) struggled to generate offense against Taillon, securing only one hit and two walks over eight innings. Despite Taillon’s previous 6.93 ERA in his initial 14 starts with the Cubs (41-46), he appeared virtually untouchable against the New York lineup.

Throughout the entire game, the Yankees only managed to achieve two hits, both of which were singles, occurring in the first and ninth innings. Unfortunately, the team never advanced a runner beyond first base, leaving them unable to generate any significant scoring opportunities.

Kyle Higashioka, the catcher for the Yankees, acknowledged that the team acknowledges the need to perform better. He emphasized that their current level of play is not sustainable, but they are all working hard and persevering. Higashioka recognized that the team is going through a rough patch, but they remain optimistic and confident that they will overcome this challenging period.

As a consequence, the Yankees suffered their third consecutive defeat, during which their lineup only managed to score four runs across 27 innings. This unfortunate sequence of events caused them to slip behind the Blue Jays and drop to fourth place in the AL East, a position they hadn’t occupied since May 18.

Taillon chocked Yankees

The Cubs’ right-handed pitcher delivered eight innings without allowing any runs, conceding only a single hit, which came from a Gleyber Torres single in the first inning.

AP Photo/ Frank Franklin II

Taillon’s performance during this game stood out as his most impressive start of the season by a significant margin. Previously, he had been conceding an average of four runs per game and had been grappling with difficulties in preventing solid contact and inducing swings and misses. However, in this particular game, Taillon dominated the Yankees’ lineup, effortlessly stifling their offensive efforts.

Prior to Friday night’s shutout loss, Taillon possessed the highest ERA among all pitchers who had thrown over 60 innings in the 2023 season. The Yankees struggled immensely against him, managing a mere three baserunners throughout the entire game.

In a similar fashion, Taillon’s friend and former teammate, Jordan Montgomery, achieved comparable success against the Yankees when facing them with the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. Montgomery nearly completed a no-hitter against their stagnant offense, further emphasizing their struggles at the plate.

Following their dismal showing on Friday night and the lopsided 14-1 defeat against the Orioles on Thursday night, the Yankees have mustered a mere eight hits and scored only one run in their past 18 offensive innings.

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