LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Win Another Series But Lose Tanaka For A Month

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yankees Win Another Series But Lose Tanaka For A Month

It’s been said that bad news feels less ominous when it comes sandwiched between good news, so here goes:
  • The New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1 on Tuesday, ensuring themselves their fourth straight series win and another night atop the standings in the A.L. East. 
  • Masahiro Tanaka, penciled in as Wednesday’s starter, will instead go on the 15-day D.L. for about a month with right wrist tendinitis and a forearm strain. 
  • Girardi was determined to get Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller a night off and succeeded as the Yankees bullpen proved their versatility and extended their dominance.
There.  Feel better about Tanaka? No? Truth be told, neither do I. The Yankees expensive ace looked like he was getting ready to go on a nice roll, turning in back great starts. Best of all, there was no hint of any elbow problems.

Then, Tanaka woke up yesterday morning with wrist soreness, told a trainer and that was that (on his bobblehead night no less). Now he’s down until late May / early June. It’s a big blow for a team that already had some uncertainty in their rotation. Tuesday night’s starter, Chase Whitley, was decent in his spot start but failed to provide much length, an issue that has plagued the rotation recently and may start to strain the bullpen.

Now the burden shifts to Michael Pineda, he of just 45 major league starts, to be the de facto ace. CC Sabathia is, for the moment, unreliable and Nathan Eovaldi is inconsistent. Adam Warren is what his place in the rotation says he is, a fifth starter, and Whitley is much the same. Help, in the form of Ivan Nova and Chris Capuano (I know, I know), is on the way later this year but, with the next fifteen games all against division rivals with more pop in their bats than the Tampa Bay Rays, that is not a huge source of comfort at the moment.

The Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays are 3rd, 4th and 6th respectively in the American League in OBP. That compares to the 7th place Yankees and 8th place Rays.

That is the kind of offense that can wear on a pitching staff.

So, not only is this Tanaka news disappointing, it also comes at a bad time in the schedule. Nevertheless, there is some more good news: After a 3-6 start to the season, the Yankees have shown some resilience. It is still quite earl, but if the Yankees can focus on continuing to win series then this could wind up being nothing more than a bump in the road. It is up to the rest of the Yankees team, pitching staff and offense both, to make sure that’s exactly what happens.

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