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What’s Wrong With Masahiro Tanaka?

Photo Credit: Anthony J. Causi/AP

As I watched the New York Yankees bullpen self destruct this weekend in which they lost six straight games, four to Oakland Athletics, I waited for Masahiro Tanaka‘s turn in the rotation on Saturday, assured that he would come out and be the Ace he used to be.

The last start on six days rest was hopeful, and I thought after four straight loses he would be up to the task. Well he wasn’t. Tanaka gave up three home runs and left the game trailing 5-2, which was the final score. His record now is 5-7, with a 6.34 ERA and a WHIP of 1.49.

Either something is wrong with his elbow or the thought of possibly opting out of his contract this year is putting added pressure on him. No way can a person with the array of pitches Tanaka has, should be this bad. He is putting the Yankees hopes of going into the playoffs at risk.

The Yankees keep sending him out and he keeps losing games. Maybe he is better suited to go every six days instead of five, at least until he gets his confidence back. I was hoping the Yankees would have started him on Sunday instead of Saturday. If he is hurting he should tell the Yankees so they can make a trade at the deadline for a starter. Right now with CC Sabathia out with an injury and out for at least a month, the Yankees need better pitching from Tanaka.

Right now Michael Pineda is not the most reliable starter and even Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery had bad starts recently. The bullpen has been a nightmare recently, especially Tyler Clippard and Jonathan Holder. Both have given up big hits to cause the Yankees several losses. Aroldis Chapman is back which should help but with Tanaka looking as bad as he has been, we need everyone pitching at a higher level.

The dream season is going down the tubes fast, as the Boston Red Sox are now tied with the Yankees and once they get into 1st place, I don’t believe the Yankees will be able to stop them. Tanaka is being paid a lot of money and he needs to either tell the Yankees he is injured or look at video when he was pitching well and figure out what he is doing wrong.

Aaron Judge has come down to earth a little bit but still has impressive numbers. Gary Sanchez started to hit but if we don’t get the starters going in the right direction no amount of hitting is going to help. Domingo German had an impressive four innings on Saturday in relief of Tanaka, and maybe he can help as a starter. He throws up to 99 mph and he looks dominant. Chance Adams might need to be added to the 40 man roster and brought up to the majors. So what if he lost a year of eligibility. What is important is that we are in position to make the playoff’s and these two pitchers might be able to help, either in the bullpen or as starters.

RHP Chad Green (Photo: Gabe Rodriguez)

Luis Cessa is not the answer and the jury is still out on Chad Green. Green might be better suited for 6-7 inning duty, since Clippard appears to be struggling. Adam Warren is out another week and we don’t know if he will be fully recovered from his injury.

This next home stand is huge. The Yanks need to go on the same roll when they faced the Eastern Division teams. Maybe the trip to the West Coast was exhausting to the team and they just wore down, but are now home where they are 22-9 so far on the season.

With the LA Angels and Texas Rangers in town starting Tuesday, New York needs to win at least four of the six games to get back into the flow and back to winning.  The key now is to fend off the surging Red Sox. The Yankees are still a good team, and I really do not believe the the sudden success was a fluke, they just have to find ways to win around the tough times, and get through the pitching woes. Time will tell, and it’s better then watching a team trying to stay out of the bottom of the pack.  There is still a lot of hope in this young season for the Bronx Bombers.

Elias is a native of the Bronx, NY and a lifelong baseball fan. In High School, he once pitched a gem on the same field as Ed Kranepool and grew up rooting for both the Mets and the Yankees. Elias is a retired NYPD and Ocala, FL Detective and spends his quality time with family and writing about the game he loves.

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