The reason the Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 Million contract almost three years ago was for his ability to get out the opposition.
Unfortunately, Tanaka hasn’t done much of that this season, which means the Yankees are officially in trouble. During Saturday’s start, Tanaka was once again unable to locate his pitches which led to the Tampa Bay Rays tagging him for six runs on nine hits in three innings of work. The problem is, the Yankees don’t know what’s wrong with Tanaka; they’re even unsure if it’s some sort of mechanical flaw.
It also doesn’t help the Rays are always able to figure out Tanaka; Tanaka has a 6.56 ERA in his career against the Yankees AL East opponents.
The Yankees rotation is in shambles at the moment, and to prevent getting swept, the Yankees will turn to CC Sabathia. Unfortunately, Sabathia has had his own share of struggles as well.
The Yankees offense is producing, but with the pitching putting them in an early hole, it’s hard to win games that way. But some of Tanaka’s struggles weren’t just him leaving pitches up in the zone; he also wasn’t getting calls on certain pitches that floated in for strikes. That led manager Joe Girardi to throw a tantrum a la Billy Martin style and earn an ejection from home plate umpire Scott Barry. Before Girardi descended, he sprinkled dirt all over home plate before entering into the clubhouse.
“I might as well get my money’s worth,’’ Girardi said after the game.
Barry refused to clean Girardi’s mess, and it was ultimately cleaned up by catcher Gary Sanchez.
The Yankees need Tanaka to be an ace, but his rocky outings are beginning to cause issues, and questions. Are his issues mechanical? Is he truly healthy? The Yankees won’t divulge further than that, but for now, they know Tanaka’s having some sort of issue…and the Yankees need to do whatever it takes in order to fix him.
And not surprisingly, Tanaka agrees.
“I just have to be better,” Tanaka said. “Learn from my mistakes.”