Masahiro Tanaka’s outing was washed away by Thursday’s rainout.
These days, that news might be a reprieve for the struggling Yankees ace.
Friday, the right-hander either will help put the team’s concerns about him behind them or cause them to grow even more dire.
Since throwing a complete-game shutout at Boston on April 27, Tanaka has given up 21 earned runs in just 18 innings over four outings. In his past two outings, he has surrendered 14 runs and failed to get out of the third inning in either game.
Though Tanaka and the Yankees continue to insist his arm is OK, the questions will persist until his performance improves.
Until then, general manager Brian Cashman said there isn’t much more he can do.
“We’ve done the ‘CSI: The Bronx’ on him a number of different times, where we’ve gone through the analytics comparison from when he’s flying high to the current low, and there are no indicators other than the splitter’s not splitting like it usually does and the command of the fastball is off,” Cashman said Thursday at Yankee Stadium, where he was taking part in a HOPE Week charity event. “We can’t point to anything other than the fact that I don’t think his splitter is as good as it’s been. I know that for a fact. His splitter’s not performing up to what his past performance has been.”
But Cashman said all the other numbers check out, whether it is velocity, swings-and-misses in the zone and other “background statistics” the team utilizes to see if there might be a problem when the player doesn’t know it.
“Right now he’s in a down stretch and so we’re looking forward to getting him up and running to what we’re used to seeing,” Cashman said.
The results have been startlingly bad. Tanaka has been unable to get out righties or lefties, been ineffective in clutch situations and actually has been worse on five days’ rest than on a normal four-day schedule.
Though he has been better pitching to Austin Romine…