The New York Yankees for just the first time during this season are entrenched in a slump. The Yankees lost their fifth straight game on Saturday and if that was not enough, Masahiro Tanaka the team’s so-called ace is not showing any signs of improving.
Tanaka was rocked for five runs over just four innings giving up three home runs. The game started poorly for the Yankees and continued downhill from there. The first pitch made by Tanaka was hit over the outfield fence by Matt Joyce for a leadoff home run.
Tanaka’s problems on the mound are a much bigger concern for the Yankees than the team’s current losing streak of five games. Losing streaks happen but Tanaka worries the players, coaches and front office.
Tanaka’s ERA has now ballooned to 6.34 for the season which is No. 80 amongst 82 pitchers that have accumulated sufficient innings to qualify to win the ERA title.
Just Bronson Arroyo’s 7.01 and Kevin Gausman’s 6.60 ERAs are worse than Tanaka. An even bigger worry is the home run ball that Tanaka is throwing. On Saturday it was three more round trippers give up, which now makes it 21 for the year.
That ties Tanaka with Ricky Nolasco for the most home runs given up in baseball. In addition, Tanaka has given up 17 homers over his last 9 outings over just 46 2/3 innings or equal to 3.3 home runs per 9 innings which is extraordinarily high.
However, the Yankees coaching staff and trainers insist that Tanaka remains healthy and no talk has been heard about sending the pitcher down to the minors or placing him on the disabled list for a phantom injury.
With CC Sabathia already on the DL, it would be difficult to take out another starter from the Yankees rotation.
Therefore, for the time being, the Yankees will attempt to ride out Tanaka’s poor pitching and the team’s poor overall play and hope he figures it out and the same with the team in general.
Even though the Yankees have lost five straight, they sit atop the American League East standings by 1 game over the Boston Red Sox at 38-28.
New York sat catcher Gary Sanchez on Saturday after he left Friday’s game with a sore groin. Sanchez has become one of New York’s top hitters and the coaching staff wants to make sure he is healthy and he does not play too soon and aggravate the injury causing him to miss even more time.