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!