Tanaka’s struggles continue as the Yankees drop their fifth straight, 5-2 to A’s

Game 66: It Ain't All Bad
DotF: Torres injures elbow during Scranton's doubleheader


Source: FanGraphs

The bullpen can’t blow a lead if the team can’t build one, am I right? Well, this loss was not as much of a tease as the past few days but still, as loss nonetheless. Masahiro Tanaka gave up 3 homers and the bats couldn’t rally against Jesse Hahn and the A’s bullpen. It’s Saturday so let’s just do it bullet-point style and get over with.

  • The enigma: Tanaka had literally a one of a kind outing – he’s become the only pitcher to strikeout 10+ hitters and allow 3+ HR in 4 IP or fewer in MLB history (thank you Katie Sharp). So good news: he’s missing bats! Bad news: the dingers. It was nearly a literal hit-or-miss start for him. He got 19 whiffs in 4 innings! That is a lot. 10 of them came from his slider and 7 from splitter. So, at times, his stuff was really working. At the same time, he gave up hittable pitches up in the zone. You’d think the solution is simple: “stop putting meatballs in the zone!” Pitching is hard. If Tanaka could command pitches low all the time, he would. Anyways, after today’s game, Tanaka has a wacky 8.92 K/9, 2.47 BB/9, 2.47 HR/9 rates with a 6.34 ERA. It’s the middle of the June so not so much a small sample size thing.
  • Two runs and nothing much: The Yankee bats didn’t show as much Fighting Spirit as they did the past few days. The only runs they scored came from the second inning. With one out, Ronald Torreyes and Mason Williams hit back-to-back singles to put two runners on. Austin Romine singled to center to score Torreyes and advance Williams to third, who later scored on a Brett Gardner sac fly. Yankees took a 2-1 lead and that would be the last time they’d lead for the game. They did make Jesse Hahn throw a lot of pitches, but he’s no scrub, striking out 6 and allowing only 3 hits overall in 5 IP (105 pitches, 69 strikes). The A’s bullpen, which is not usually the team’s strong suit, shut down the Yankee lineup to the tune of 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R and 6 strikeouts. And that was the story of the Yankee offense today.
  • Domingo on a Saturday: Coming into the bottom of the fifth, the Yankees called it a day for Tanaka and put Domingo German on the mound. In his second ML appearance, German put up another scoreless outing: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K with 79 pitches. It wasn’t without any jams though. The A’s had the bases loaded in both the sixth and seventh innings but German got out of both unscathed. He kept the A’s lead at 3 runs but today, the bats went silent against the A’s bullpen because of course.
  • Leftovers: Gary Sanchez pinch-hit in the ninth inning! He struck out swinging but the Yankees putting him up there is a pretty good sign given his injury. Hopefully it is a precursor to him making it to the starting lineups tomorrow. Torreyes was the only hitter today that had a multi-hit game (2-for-4). Gardner, Chase Headley and Aaron Judge each drew a walk but went hitless (0-for-8 collectively).

Here are today’s box score, updated standings and WPA graph. The dreaded West Coast trip is over tomorrow. The Yankees will have Luis Cessa on the mound against Jharel Cotton. There’s more baseball on the schedule today. Hope the Astros beat the Red Sox so the Yankees still have the AL East top spot outright by the end of the day.

Game 66: It Ain't All Bad
DotF: Torres injures elbow during Scranton's doubleheader