Yankees putative ace Masahiro Tanaka was lit up last night, surrendering seven runs on nine hits in five and two-thirds innings to the Orioles.
Such results are not exactly new for Tanaka in 2017, unfortunately. Indeed, this was the fourth time this season that Tanaka has given up six or more and at the moment he’s sitting at 5-5 with a 6.34 ERA in 11 starts. He’s given up 14 homers as well.
As the season began, the question facing the Yankees rotation was whether anyone besides Tanaka could be depended upon. Now he’s the weak link of a staff that has helped the first place Yankees go 30-20 in the early going. What gives? Is he hurt? Tanaka says no. Manager Joe Girardi says no as well, noting that Tanaka was sharp in his last start, dominating the Oakland A’s on May 26. If he was hurt, Girardi says, he’d be getting lit up all the time. This is merely wild inconsistency.
Pitchers do have ups and downs from time to time. It’s just that, until now, Tanaka’s hallmark has been his consistency. Now that’s gone and everyone is scratching their heads.