So far this season, Masahiro Tanaka has undoubtedly been the Yankees best pitcher. He’s done everything the Yankees have asked of him and he’s done a great job adjusting to the United States after pitching in Japan. With that being said, it’s become apparent Tanaka is still adjusting to Major League Baseball’s rotation rules, causing a drop in his velocity in his last outing.
Bob Klapisch of the The Record mentioned Tanaka had lost a bit of velocity from his start against the Blue Jays to his start against the Baltimore Orioles. He begins the post saying that the decrease in velocity might be nothing, but he also mentioned that Tanaka could be feeling fatigue as he hasn’t completely adjusted to pitching once every fifth day versus once a week.
The fact Tanaka could be feeling fatigue might have influenced Joe Girardi‘s decision to push Tanaka back a day, allowing the struggling Vidal Nuno to start tomorrow against the Boston Red Sox. Tanaka would have 24 hours to recuperate and he’ll start against the Red Sox on six days rest versus five. The alignment also has Tanaka missing his first All-Star game, which neither side seems to be too upset about.
The Yankees are 12-3 in games Masahiro Tanaka has started and without Tanaka, who knows if the Yankees would be chasing the Blue Jays in the American League East or if the Yankees would even be in contention for the wild card. Tanaka is an important, not to mention expensive, piece to the Yankees. If the Yankees want Tanaka for the entire year and then some, they’re going to have to monitor him very carefully. They can’t afford anything to happen to their ace.