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Jameson Taillon comes up clutch for Cubs in win over Padres

1 year agoTony Andracki

The Cubs were in search of a veteran starter to add to the rotation this winter and targeted Jameson Taillon to be that guy.

The 31-year-old right-hander is a former top prospect and was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. He’s been through a lot in his career between a bout with testicular cancer and a pair of Tommy John surgeries and while he’s been plenty successful, the Cubs felt like there was the potential for more.

But it didn’t play out that way for the first two months of his Cubs career.

He carried an 0-3 record and 8.04 ERA into June through his first 8 starts.

But Taillon turned in his best start of the season Friday night, coming an out short of a quality start against a potent Padres offense. He allowed only 1 run in 5.2 innings, sparking the Cubs to a 2-1 victory.

Taillon allowed only 3 hits and did not walk a batter. The only Padres run came on an infield tapper that barely stayed fair down the third base line in the 6th inning.

He teased this potential after his last outing against the Reds on Saturday at Wrigley Field.

“I thought that was probably a closer version of myself and where I need to be and where I should expect to be going forward,” Taillon said after the Reds game.

He ended up allowing 4 runs in 4.2 innings against Cincinnati last Saturday but he felt a lot better about his approach and aggression.

Taillon identified his next step as simply earning better results, which he accomplished Friday night in San Diego. He lowered his ERA a full run (down to 7.05) and was efficient, needing only 75 pitches to notch 17 outs.

“I thought he threw spectacular,” David Ross said after the game. “As good as I’ve seen.”

The Cubs are hoping it’s the start of a strong stretch for Taillon, who signed a 4-year, $68 million deal in the offseason. He has a track record of success, with a career 3.84 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 6 seasons prior to 2023.

That included a pair of solid years with the Yankees in the powerhouse AL East the last two seasons. He was 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 32 starts last year with the Bronx Bombers.

Taillon’s effort helped the Cubs get out to a solid start to their 10-game West Coast trip.

The Cubs bullpen locked it down after Taillon exited the game. Brandon Hughes, Julian Merryweather, Adbert Alzolay and Mark Leiter Jr. combined to throw 3.1 shutout innings with Leiter picking up his 3rd save of the season.

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