Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
I’m sure we’ll dive into the holiday once today’s game gets going. For now, let’s look back at last night one more time. Specifically, let’s look at arguably the worst start of Masahiro Tanaka’s major-league career.
“I think his pitches were just up,” Brian McCann said. “His split was up. But at the same time, you look up there in the seventh inning and he’s at 75 pitches, so it’s hard to say it was tough. I thought his sinker was great tonight, he got a lot of early pitch outs.”
That’s the interesting part of Tanaka’s four-run, seven-inning “letdown” of a start against the Twins: Even on his worst night, he probably could have thrown a complete game if the Yankees needed it. He struck out only three, which was a career low. He allowed four earned runs, which was a career high. But he still pitched plenty good enough to get a win as long as the Yankees offense had a pretty good night, which it clearly did.
“It could have been all the pitches he threw the last time,” Joe Girardi said. “His stuff wasn’t as sharp. It’s hard to say (what caused it). They’re not going to be perfect every time. He’s been about as consistent as you can be as a starting pitcher. He just wasn’t quite as sharp tonight.”
Tanaka said it helped ease his mind when the Yankees put some crooked numbers on the board and gave him a solid lead, something he hasn’t been particularly used to this season (especially not in his recent starts).
“It does ease pitchers a bit, I think,” Tanaka said. “What I can’t forget is that even those situations, you have to go out and try to perform your best. That’s what I had in mind out there tonight.”
Maybe it’s overreacting to one so-so outing, but it seemed worth asking — to a new pitcher, in this new league, coming off an uncharacteristic start — is Tanaka’s body starting to feel sluggish at this point in the season?
“Not really,” he said. “I understand that I do have to keep my body in good condition in order to keep myself strong.”
Associated Press photo