Newspaper article International New York Times

Tanaka Has Rare off Night, but Girardi Isn't Too Concerned

Newspaper article International New York Times

Tanaka Has Rare off Night, but Girardi Isn't Too Concerned

Article excerpt

Over his first four months in the major leagues, Masahiro Tanaka has set a standard of excellence that is difficult to achieve every time he pitches.

At his best, Masahiro Tanaka has been dominant. His good starts have been superlative, and even his mediocre outings -- rare as they have been -- are often better than what the New York Yankees have received from the other members of their tattered rotation.

Over his first four months in the major leagues, Tanaka has set a standard of excellence that, try as he might, is difficult to achieve every time he pitches. Sooner or later there was bound to be a game in which he struggled, and it came in a 5-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday at Progressive Field, in Tanaka's 18th start. Never before had he allowed as many as five runs, and he did so in his first start after surrendering four earned runs for the first time. Tanaka, in a way, is a victim of expectations: When he does muddle through a game, as he did Tuesday, it is so startling that the impulsive reaction might be to dismiss it as a brief intrusion in what could end up as a Cy Young Award season.

But what the Yankees must determine is whether Tanaka's dip in performance his last two outings -- nine runs allowed, or as many as in his previous five starts -- indicates something else. Manager Joe Girardi said he was not troubled because he has not noticed much of a difference in Tanaka's repertory.

"If it goes for a long period of time, I think you become concerned," Girardi said. "But every pitcher goes through it."

Tanaka is not every pitcher, and in his otherwise smooth transition to pitching in the majors after a career spent in his native Japan, this is his first real encounter with turbulence. On Tuesday he failed to establish his fastball, labored with his command and allowed a season-high 10 hits, including two home runs, in six and two-thirds innings. Michael Brantley hit two run-scoring doubles and a homer, and the former Yankee Nick Swisher seemed to derive particular joy from smacking a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth.

Whenever possible, the Yankees have tried giving Tanaka an extra day between starts. The schedule has not accommodated him this month, forcing Tanaka to make his final three starts before the All- Star break on four days' rest. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.