In all that’s gone awry this season and in particular of late it’s easy to overlook the contributions of a 24-year-old rookie who pitched only nine games above Class A baseball until a month ago. Taylor Jordan’s meteoric rise through Washington’s minor league system vaulted him to the majors at a time when the Nationals needed a starting pitcher. And since his call-up on June 29 Jordan has punched up a 3.31 ERA over six starts and helped bring a small measure of stability to the back end of the Nationals rotation. On Sunday after the best start of his young career Jordan finally earned his first major league win. He allowed only one run on five hits over six innings on only 87 pitches. He is a power sinkerballer — if he qualified he would have the second-highest groundball rate (57.6 percent) in the majors. But against the New York Mets he induced 12 flyouts compared to only four groundballs and struck out a career-high seven batters. “I don’t think he was as sharp as his last time out” Manager Davey Johnson said. “But he threw awful good. Made pitches when he had to. And his slider keeps getting better.” Jordan has relied more on his slider in recent starts a pitch he uses to neutralize right-handed batters. On Sunday it dropped like a dead weight through the strike zone. His improvement in execution and increased usage of the pitch — coupled with his power sinking fastball and plus change-up against left-handers — has worked well for him.
Taylor Jordan continues to improve
Washington Post | Jul 29