Such is the nature of Masahiro Tanaka and his injury that every time he has a bad outing, you wonder about that elbow that has a partially torn ligament. If he has two bad outings in a row, you really wonder.
On Saturday, the Yanks gave Tanaka an early 6-0 cushion, watched him cough it up, then rallied late for a 9-6 win over Houston.
I just hope Tanaka is ok. But with that injury, you will always wonder, until it blows and he needs TJ surgery. But it’s not like Tanaka to give up 3 HR in a game in consecutive games. Hopefully it isn’t acting up or he’s hiding anything.
Brian McCann hit a grand slam (HR #12) in the first and the red-hot Chris Young homered (10) in the second to give the Yanks a 6-0 lead.
But Tanaka gave up two in the second and one in the fourth. Heading into the fifth, I had a bad feeling. I was thinking, “Get him out of there, Joe.” You know when a pitcher is struggling, and you see that the manager is trying to squeeze five out of him for the win, and no matter how hard he squeezes, the pitcher can’t do it? That is what happened yesterday. Tanaka gave up three in the fifth. 6-0 became 6-6. Sometimes the pitcher just can’t get that extra out or three.
The Yanks’ bullpen was brilliant in keeping it where it was. Chasen Shreve, in particular, has been a great pickup for the Yanks this year, and rookie Bryan Mitchell is starting to hit his stride. Maybe Mitchell will stay in the bullpen for now and help to stabilize and improve it. He can be switched back to a starting role later.
Mark Teixeira’s 2-run double in the 8th was the game-winner (he leads the AL with 53 RBI) , and Chase Headley added insurance in the 9th with a HR, his eighth.
Brett Gardner has been red-hot. Just a couple of weeks ago, his average had fallen to .262. His three-hit game put him at .300.
A-Rod is still one hit behind Wade Boggs on the all-time list with 3009.
The win keeps the Yanks 1/2 game behind Tampa Bay, at 41-34. They lead the WC race.
With the rough outing by Tanaka, guess which Yankees starter has the lowest ERA? Yup, the one who may be pegged to the bullpen, now that Nova has arrived. Adam Warren.
Tanaka 5 IP, 6 R, 7 H, 2 walks, 5 K. 3 HR. 3.88
Mitchell 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 walk, 3 K. 1.59
Shreve (W, 5-1, 1.72) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk, 1 K.
Wilson 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 2.96
Betances (6th save) 1 Ip, 0 R, 1H, 0 walks, 1 K. 1.17.