Starting pitching has been the key to the Yankees’ 11-game win streak – The Mercury News

TORONTO — Jameson Taillon knew it would come. After all, through this 11-game winning streak, the Bombers offense has found a way to at least scratch a few runs across. The Yankees right-hander lept that faith and just kept dueling with the Blue Jays’ young Alex Manoah, who’d been a problem for the Yankees since the first time they saw him in the spring of 2021.

And then in the sixth inning, Taillon’s final inning of the night, he was rewarded.

“It’s fun. I knew if I could just keep them in that game, those guys were gonna break out at some point,” Taillon said after the Yankees’ 9-1 win over the Blue Jays at the Rogers Center Tuesday night. “The offense has been really fun to watch for the last couple of weeks. They’re so deep and they feed off of each other.”

It’s about time the Bombers’ big bats caught up.

The Yankees bats have been the focus of this hot streak, because of how dramatically Aaron Judge is absolutely scorching the ball. He’s led the offense with eight home runs during this winning streak. The Bombers’ offense has been the talk of baseball, but they basically just caught up to the pitching, which had been much better than expected when the team left Tampa last month.

Yankees starters have posted a 2.80 ERA, the second best in the American League behind the Twins. And that includes when Gerrit Cole posted a 6.35 ERA over his first three starts.

They lead the league in WHIP (1.10) and are second in the AL in strikeouts with 119, behind the Blue Jays, and in walks allowed (22), behind the Tigers.

That’s not bad for a group that was considered ‘Cole and the question marks’ coming into the season.

There were certainly legitimate causes for concern behind the Yankees ace. Taillon came into the season having had October surgery to repair a ligament in his right ankle/ they had no idea how his body his would respond. He has only issued two walks (105 batters faced) and has a 2.84 ERA through five starts. Luis Severino had made only nine starts over the last three years because of injuries, including 2020 Tommy John surgery, so that was worrisome. He has a 3.75 ERA through five starts. Lefty Jordan Montgomery was coming off a decent year in 2021, but the 29-year-old was getting to the point where people wondered if that was all he would be; a decent big league starter. He has only allowed one home run in 102 batters faced and has a 2.88 ERA, inflated by his first start his when he pitched after being hit by a comebacker. And Cole has rebounded to throw 12.2 scoreless innings in his last two starts and has struck out 27 over 24 innings pitched this season.

Nestor Cortes has been the Yankees’ biggest surprise — but perhaps he shouldn’t be. He wasn’t even penciled into the rotation by most people. They wondered if the lefty with the quirky deliveries was just a fluke in 2021. The 27-year-old, who was scheduled to make his fifth start of the season against the Blue Jays Wednesday night, hasn’t been a fluke. He’s only gotten less gimmicky and better at just pitching this season. He takes a team-best 1.31 ERA into the series finale against the Blue Jays Wednesday night.

“Look, we came in confident in them and they’ve all taken their turn. And whether it’s been a lights-out outing or something less than that, generally speaking we’ve been in the game every time they’ve taken the mound,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I think they’re all in a good groove right now and they’re setting the tone every night for us and allowing us to be in this position.”

That position is having won 11 straight games and boasting the best record in baseball. The Yankees bullpen has been an anchor all along, the offense has finally caught up to the pitching, but it’s been the starting staff that has held it down and gave them an opportunity to get here.

“We’re keeping the team in the game, and then with the bullpen that we have, if we can turn it over to the bullpen with a lead or a close game, I like our chances,” Taillon said. “It’s been some consistent efforts. Our starting staff is extremely prepared, our catchers are extremely prepared and that allows us to keep our team in the games.”

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