In his last two outings, Masahiro Tanaka has given up 5 runs in 16 IP.
That is an ERA of 2.81. But Tanaka has lost both games because in those 16 innings, he got one unearned run of support.
Saturday night, Tanaka pitched a complete game, but two mistakes, both hit for HR, cost him the game, 2-1.
Tanaka gave up a HR to Cody Ross in the top of the 3rd. The Yanks tied the game in the bottom half of the inning on an error, HBP, sac bunt by Gardner and groundout by Jeter. Jeter did get one hit tonight to go to 3391 for his career, but also had a key GIDP besides the RBI groundout.
I hate to say this, but in my opinion, Jeter shouldn’t be hitting second anymore. Ellsbury isn’t a #3 hitter. But Girardi 1) doesn’t want to disrespect Jeter by dropping him to 8th in the lineup, even though, halfway through the season, Jeter’s numbers for the year project to .270-4-37 or so, which isn’t that great (ok for a 40 year old but very Alvaro Espinoza-like, otherwise) and 2) Girardi is so tied into splitting up the lefty hitters Gardner and Ellsbury by having the righty hitting Jeter hit between them. Personally, I feel that keeping Jeter second, and not putting Gardner/Ellsbury 1-2 is hurting the team. Of course, the problem, then, is who do you hit #3? For the guys supposed to be the beef of the lineup are not producing.
The game stayed at 1-1 until the 9th. Heck, in the fourth, Tanaka showed a lot of mettle. He gave up a leadoff single to Pedroia (the little pest had three hits tonight) and a double to Ortiz. 2nd and 3rd, no one out and Tanaka got two strikeouts and a ground out to get out of it. GUTS.
But the Yanks did not even get a hit off Lester until the sixth.
In the top of the 9th, with two out and two strikes on Napoli, Tanaka threw a fastball. Should he have thrown the splitter? In retrospect, yes. The fastball was 96 and on the black, but up. An inch further outside and Napoli may swing and miss for strike three. But he went the other way and the ball cleared the short porch by a foot to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead and ultimately, the win.
After the HR, Napoli supposedly called Tanaka a “f***ing idiot.” I know what I’d do tomorrow if I were pitching. I don’t expect Whitley, a rookie, to do it. I’d shave Napoli’s ugly beard with my first pitch. You don’t disrespect my teammate by saying that. I show toughness. I knock his ass down. I’d love to see Whitley do that tomorrow night. If Napoli charges the mound, bring it on. But Napoli showed no class by doing that tonight. F*** Napoli.
Now as for the Yanks. I got to be honest here. Being less than honest isn’t my style and you would have every right to disrespect me and my postings if I weren’t. This offense needs some help. You read above that I don’t think that Jeter should be hitting second anymore. If his name wasn’t Derek Jeter he probably wouldn’t be. You just gave your ace only one unearned run of support over his last 16 innings of very good work.
Hey, Koufax and Seaver and every other great pitcher couldn’t win with only one unearned run of support over a 16 inning stretch.
2B. Brian Roberts is 36 and is hitting .237. He hasn’t been a full-time player in four years because of injury. The future is now. Bring up Rob Refsnyder, who was hitting .342 at AA Trenton and even though he has been at AAA only a couple of weeks, is raking there. He is the future. Roberts isn’t. Start the future now. See what you have in him.
RF: Soriano is hitting .228. He is 38 years old. I love Soriano. He has had a great career. But he is one of the biggest reasons this offense has been struggling (along with McCann and Beltran). RF is a major problem for the Yanks right now. Heck, Sori’s defense tonight was questionable, let alone that .228. Bring back Almonte and play him everyday or bring in a power-hitting RF. That brings me to Ichiro. Yes, Gardner, Ellsbury and Ichiro are a good defensive OF, but Ichiro, despite a .298 BA, has absolutely no pop anymore. Of Ichiro’s 45 hits, 41 are singles, 4 are doubles. If you play him with Gardner & Ellsbury, your OF is one of the weakest in the league power-wise. Get rid of Soriano, make Ichiro a backup defensive OF/PR and either get a RF or play Almonte everyday to see what you have. But get one with some pop in his bat.
The middle of the lineup has Teix (who leads the team in HR and RBI) at .243. Beltran (who has 2 more years on his deal) at .209. McCann, in the first year of a five-year deal, at .224. Soriano is at .228. The Yanks can’t and won’t win if that continues. It’s amazing that they are only two games out right now, considering the lack of production by the middle of the lineup and the fact that 3/5 of their Opening Day starting rotation is on the DL. They are still in it, but to stay in it and win it some members of the offense either need to pick it up, be benched, and/or a deal must be made. Some may not like to hear that, but we are halfway through the season. I say this not to be negative but to try and improve this team, for the Yanks middle of the lineup cannot continue like that. Period.
For you see the result. They waste a great outing by Tanaka tonight. They are forcing pitchers to be perfect. Even Tanaka isn’t perfect, and he is the best of the bunch. What about someone like Phelps, Whitley or Nuno?
Tanaka’s ERA actually DROPPED tonight. 9 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 1 walk, 8 K. ERA 2.10 (came in at 2.11). He still leads the majors in wins (11) and CG (3) and the AL in ERA (2.10), and ERA+ (190).
This was a tough loss. But the middle of the Yanks offense MUST produce better. At present, and at its current pace, the Yanks RBI leader at the end of the year will have only 84 RBI or so. Nowhere near 100. That won’t cut it.
As far as help on the way, CC went 2 1/3 at High A Tampa in a rehab outing. 2 R on 3 H. Pineda threw 25 pitches from 60 feet, no problems. Both 4-6 weeks away, but even if they come back healthy and well, what kind of offensive support will they receive?
Moves are forthcoming. I suggested a few of my own. But something needs to be done to make the team better so that they can make the postseason, and every Yankees fan wants to see that.