Will The Real Masahiro Tanaka Please Stand Up


There is something wrong with Masahiro Tanaka. Entering an important 3-game series with the Boston Red Sox, Tanaka took the hill on Tuesday night. He has been, how do you say this, less than stellar so far this season. I’m being wayyyy to nice..HE’S PITCHING LIKE POOP!! That’s better. Tanaka’s struggles continued last night. He gave up 5 earned runs in just 5 innings, serving up 3 home runs. Chad Green and the Yankees’ bullpen gave their team a chance, holding the Red Sox to those 5 runs. The Yankees scratched and clawed their way back into the game, losing 5-4. Red Sox closer, Craig Kimbrel, recorded a 4-out save (his 17th of the season), and the Yankees’ lead in the American League East is now just 1 lonely game.

Let’s take a deeper look at Tanaka’s first 12 starts of the season. I’m going to hit you with some stats and numbers now, so dust off those thinking caps and slap ’em on….

He is the owner of a shiny, brand spankin’ new E.R.A of 6.55. He is averaging just over 5 innings per start and has now given up 17 home runs in just 66 innings. Not exactly a recipe for success. With all the question marks surrounding the Yankees’ starting rotation to begin the season, Tanaka was supposed to be the anchor. The rock. The immovable object. Yeah, not so much. In the first game of the year, Tanaka was shelled to the tune of 7 runs in 2 and 2/3 innings. And he has now given up 5 or more runs in 4 of his last 5 starts. Yikes!!

The question is: Is this the real Masahiro Tanaka or will this be just an ugly blip on the radar?? As a Yankees fan, I’m hoping for the latter, but I’m not sure. If you believe Tanaka’s 3-year MLB track record is enough to prove he will ‘right the ship’, then I’ll have what you’re having. You can check out his career stats here. If you’re too lazy to click there, here is a quick overview of Tanaka’s stats. Entering this season, Tanaka had an impressive E.R.A. of just over 3.00 and sported a W.H.I.P. (Walks + Hits / Innings Pitched) around 1.00. He had struck out just over 8 batters per 9 innings, and had won at least 12 games every year. Those numbers represent the ace of your pitching staff. Not the guy who’s being outpitched by 36-year old, C.C. Sabathia.

The Yankees first 55 games have shown they are contenders. The young roster is filled with exciting offensive talent, their bullpen is fantastic, and their starting rotation as a whole has exceeded expectations. The 2nd question is: How long can they continue to run this version of Masahiro Tanaka out to the mound every 5 days?? I’m also not sure of the right answer here, but I have an idea. If I were the Yankees, I would put Masahiro Tanaka on the fake disabled list. I’d have the trainer conjure an elbow injury out of thin air, and I’d place Tanaka on the 10-day disabled list. This could give him time to get his mind right and focus on pitching deeper into games and deeper into the season. IF the Yankees are going to make the playoffs, Masahiro Tanaka needs to pitch better. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez can only bail out their pitchers so many times before the well runs dry.

Will Masahiro Tanaka turn his season around?? Will the Yankees make the playoffs?? Give me your opinion in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!



Yankees Continue Their Winning Ways

aaron judge 2

A lot can change in 30 games. Doubters can become believers. Casual fans can become die-hard fans. And kids can become adults. That is exactly What has transpired With the 2017 New York Yankees. The ‘baby bombers’ have lost their diapers, skipped past the pull-ups stage, and jumped right into boxer briefs. They are shattering expectations one home-run at a time.

After Monday night’s 10-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds, the Yankees now hold Major League Baseball’s best record (21-9). This is following a 1-4 start to the season, so the Yankees have actually gone on a 20-5 run in their last 25 games. That’s insane! Anyway….

They continue to Win decisively, as 13 of their 21 victories have been decided by 3 runs or more. The Yankees, led by a powerful offense, have become no stranger to the long ball. No team has hit more home runs per game than the Yankees. They currently average 1.66 home runs per game, having hit 50 in their first 30 games. Yup, you guessed it. Aaron Judge leads the team with 13 home runs.

Prior to the season their starting pitching staff was riddled with question marks. These questions have all been answered with the affirmative, so far. The Yankees pitching staff ranks 4th in e.r.a (earned run average – 3.52) and 1st in b.a.a. (opponents batting average – .227). We knew their bullpen would be stellar, and it has been, but many expected their starters to falter. Well outside of C.C. Sabathia’s last two starts, the Yankees’ starting pitchers have been very good. But hey, pssst….guess what the Yankees did in C.C.’s last two starts?? That’s right..they Won.

Your level of success is often measured by expectations. Every year, the machine at ESPN asks 35 of their baseball experts to predict the playoffs for the upcoming season (click here to check it out). As you can see, only 1 expert (Steve Wulf) picked the Yankees to Win the American League East Division. And I think these expectations, While appropriate, are exactly what the Yankees needed. The young core of the new look Yankees didn’t need the pressure of trying to live up to the 1998 YankeesWho could anyway right?? This Yankees regime may have gone from sellers to buyers in just one year. But, as the season flips the calendar from June to October, and the Yankees continue their Winning Ways, pressure will mount naturally. The question is, how Will Aaron Judge and his young brethren handle the pressure?

As a life long Yankees fan, nothing Would make me happier than a historical World Series run, but I am one of the few realistic Yankees’ fans that has ever existed. As fun as this team has been to watch, and as good as I think they will be for years to come, I expect the other shoe to drop at some point during the season. While I don’t expect them to implode, I do expect them to come back to reality, slightly. Between the pressure that inherently joins us in August and September and the inevitable peaks and valleys of a marathon baseball season, I see the Yankees finishing as the 1st Wild-Card Playoff Team. Don’t jump me yet! Just keep Watching Yankees games, keep reading DaveTalksSports.com, and check back in September so I can say ‘I told ya so!’

What do you think? Will the Yankees continue to win at this rapid rate, or will they cool off as the summer heats up? Tell me in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my Writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as Well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!


Happy Birthday Aaron Judge!!

aaron judge

Did you see that?!?! This has become a common reaction to the early season accomplishments of New York Yankees’ outfielder, Aaron Judge. A mountain of a man, standing 6’7″ tall, Judge has taken the league by storm, one moonshot home run at a time. Wednesday night, Judge celebrated his 25th birthday by playing against the Boston Red Sox for the first time. Judge didn’t wait long to give himself a gift and introduce himself to this historic rivalry.

The first pitch Judge saw Wednesday night, an 89-m.p.h. fastball from Rick Porcello, landed exactly where you’d expect; the cheap seats. The 2nd inning, 2-run home run was the 7th of the season for Judge. He now has 7 home runs and 15 r.b.i.’s while batting .281 in his first 18 games. And to think just 4 short weeks ago, Judge nearly lost the right-field competition to Aaron Hicks. Good work Joe Girardi! This is Judge’s second audition in the big leagues (playing in 27 games in 2016), and I’d say he’s got the part. And who said you never get a 2nd chance at a 1st impression?!

The birthday boy’s evening didn’t end there. In the 3rd inning, Judge figured it was time to flash the leather. Xander Bogaerts popped-up a ball down the right-field line. As it appeared it would hang up just enough for Judge to make a play on it, he took off full-speed toward the foul line. The ball met his glove simultaneously with his knees meeting the half-wall, making an incredible catch and tumbling into the first row of the stands (pictured above) in a very Jeter-Esque manner. Dare I say that Judge’s home run in the 2nd inning was an inside-out swing reminiscent of one Derek Jeter as well? I’m just sayin’. 

Thanks to Judge’s hot start (and some surprisingly OUTSTANDING starting pitching), the Yankees have opened the season 12-7, just 1.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. Only time will tell if the Yankees and Judge will continue their strong play. For now, I will enjoy watching him hit 448-foot home runs into the stratosphere.

Do you think Aaron Judge is the real deal? Are the Yankees really contenders or is the other shoe about to drop? Let me know in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

A-Rod Celebrates His 40th Birthday With What Else….An A-Bomb From A-Rod!!


DaveTalksSports: What do you want for your birthday this year Alex Rodriguez?

Alex: I don’t know Dave.  I feel like I have everything I’ve ever wanted.

DaveTalksSports: How about another home run?  You don’t have enough of those yet.

Alex: Oh yeah, that sounds like a great id……

DaveTalksSports: Oh wait, have you been a good boy?

Alex: No, not really.

DaveTalksSports: Oh who am I kidding?!  It doesn’t matter!  You’re playing so well you are completely overshadowing all the mean, nasty, hurtful, despicable, dishonest, and deceitful things you’ve done, and you’ll probably get exactly what you want anyway.

Alex: Yay!!

Alex Rodriguez turned 40 years old yesterday.  In honor of himself, he hit his 678th career home run in a 6-2 victory over his former team; The Texas Rangers.  A-Rod is now hitting .276 on the season with 24 home runs and 59 runs batted in.  He has WILDLY exceeded everyone’s expectations this year (possibly even his own), and after serving a 162-game suspension last season, A-Rod has returned completely rejuvenated.  Being the New York Yankees’ primary DH has helped A-Rod solely focus on hitting, as he has only played 6 games in the field (4 at 3B and 2 at 1B).  It has also allowed him to stay healthy while playing in 91 of the Yankees’ 98 games this season.

As with anything attached to Alex Rodriguez’s name there is always suspicion.  Is his success this season tainted or has he found the fountain of youth in a back alley somewhere in The Bronx?  No matter what your opinion of A-Rod, we must admit his season has been spectacular, and he is one of the biggest reasons the Yankees stand atop the American League East.

After A-Rod’s hot week of home run hitting (hitting 5 home runs in as many days), the ‘Live In The Moment’ question of the day is: Will A-Rod pass Barry Bonds and how many home runs will he end his career with (so what if that’s 2 questions)?  All I can do is laugh.  As much as A-Rod enjoys shoving his success in the face of his doubters, father time waits for no man.  I’ll simplify it: Today, A-Rod has 678 hr’s and would need 85 more to pass Bonds.  Even at an ultra-gernerous pace of 20 hr’s per year, A-Rod would need to RE-SIGN ANOTHER CONTRACT after his age 41 season of 2017 (when he’ll turn 42), and then continue this torrid pace.  I’m sorry to disappoint all you dreamers out there, but enjoy A-Rod while he’s still dropping ‘A-Bombs’ because before you know it he’ll only be dropping Informant Tips on his PED Supplier.

What do you think?  Is A-Rod’s success this season natural?  Or is he back on the juice?

Let me know in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Who Ya Gonna Call?? No, not Johnny Damon. Call the Ghostbusters.

Something big is happening in New York.  It’s not what you’d expect, and personally I’m terrified.  New York used to be the example of greatness.  We used to be the place that all others tried to model themselves after, but now we are the example of mediocrity.  Don’t believe me?  Okay, I’ll prove it.  The Islanders are one of the worst hockey teams in the world, the Jets are well the Jets (enough said), the Knicks are having a nice year, but they’re not winning any titles, and the Yankees are not the Yankees of the ’90’s anymore.  As sad as this is to say (I love the Yankees), the Yankees are not that good.  When Johnny Damon is the answer to your prayers, you know you’re in trouble.  For those of you who don’t know, Curtis Granderson broke his arm yesterday, causing mass hysteria here in New York.  Some of the media outlets here are suggesting that the Yankees sign free agent Johnny Damon to help fill the void.  A thought like that makes me wonder what really goes through peoples minds.  Do people enjoy living in the past?  Do they really think that veteran’s will bring intangibles to the team that the youngsters can’t?  Who in their right mind would think that the Yankees resigning Johnny Damon would be a good idea?  Everyone wants to talk about how old the Knicks are, but those same people obviously haven’t taken the time to look at the Yankees roster.  Let me run down the list of some of their ancient artifacts.  The Yankees have a 37 year old A-Rod who is probably not going to play this year or ever again, a 38 year old Derek Jeter who is recovering from a broken ankle, a 38 year old Hiroki Kuroda on the mound, a 39 year old Ichiro, a 40 year old Andy Pettite, and a 43 year old Mariano Rivera coming off major surgery.  Mark Teixeira (32) and Kevin Youkilis (33) are no spring chickens either.  With all the talk surrounding Robinson Cano’s contract negotiations (which are a year away), and Granderson going down, the Yankees season is already in disarray and it hasn’t even started.  Man, I’m really glad Steinbrenner made all of those off-season acquisitions this year.  Oh, yeah that’s right, they didn’t make any moves whatsoever.  Good idea Hal.  Quick side note: I’ve always said that the death of George Steinbrenner was the worst thing to ever happen to this franchise.  Clearly not everything runs in the family, because his kids have no clue how to run the most successful sports franchise in the world.  Anyway, with an aging roster and below average pitching staff, you’d think that the Yankees would have made a flurry of big moves to bring in some young talent during the off-season.  Instead, they let Russell Martin walk leaving the Yankees with literally no catcher.  They let Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez walk as well.  They also decided not to negotiate with Rafael Soriano due to the devil’s (I mean Scott Boras’) demands.  Hey Hal, do you know why the Yankees won 4 World Series in 5 years in the late 90’s and early 2000’s?  I didn’t think so.  It’s because you had a transition from a great closer (John Wetteland) to another GREAT closer (Mariano Rivera).  As much as I love Big Mo this is clearly going to be his last season, and great closers don’t exactly grow on trees.  But hey, I guess little Steinbrenner wants us to be excited about the signing of Travis Hafner.  Newsflash, the long ball doesn’t win Championships by itself (Exhibit A: last season)!!  Without any substantial additions to the Yankees roster as it is presently constructed, they will finish in 3rd place in the American League East and MISS the playoffs.  They need a pleasant surprise from someone already on the roster, a big trade, or they need find some talent from their Farm system to compete this year.  Otherwise, I think they are in big trouble.  Nobody loves the Yankees more than me, I am just calling it like I see it.

As for the Granderson situation, I have a solution that they should have been trying for about two years now.  Move Eduardo Nunez to the outfield.  Nunez has blazing speed but has not proven to be a consistent enough fielder at shortstop.  He makes far too many errors from one of the most important positions on the field.  If you keep Brett Gardner and Nunez in the order at the same time you will put speed on the base paths and be able to play small ball (a recipe for success that I’ve been begging for for years now).  And hey, if it doesn’t work you can always slide Nunez right back into his utility role.  It’s not like he’s ever had a set position and you would somehow be disrupting his rhythm by moving him to the outfield.

With Spring Training upon us, we are entering the best time of the year.  March Madness is on it’s way as is beautiful Spring weather.  Undoubtedly, the best part of the year is the start of Baseball season.  Stay tuned for my full preview of the Major League Baseball season including division winners, playoff and world series predictions, and player projections.