Tanaka will be glad to get this season over with. The sophomore slump I think is what they call it. He certainly has not been as sharp as he was last season before the injury and it can be said that it has fast become one of those things now that gives Girardi grounds for an eye roll or a head shake, the amount of times that he has been asked if there is something wrong with the star pitcher.
He had earned the starting spot on opening day, mostly because CC was not up to the same levels of intensity he had been in years gone by and so it fell to the guy who seemed to be the best choice. Now of course opening day is not a big deal, I mean if you lose it, it isn’t the end of anything. It isn’t even the beginning of anything. Look lets look at it like this. The Yanks lost to Cleveland on opening day of 2009. They got beat, and then they seemed to just, I dunno, not really do much until the season got going, and then… Well the story is well known. They went on to win the Fall Classic. Good times, good times.
So his getting beat by Toronto badly -the figures speak for themselves… 4 innings pitched. 5 hits, 5 runs, 1 homer. An ERA 9.00. 50 strikes from 82 pitches, isn’t really worth getting down about. They have beaten a lot of good pitchers severely this season. So while it was not a good showing at all. It was the first game of a long season. A season that saw the Toronto bats simply sizzling. Lava hot!! So let’s not get to hung up.
Tanaka is an infuriating. At least this season. He is infuriating because of the way one simply has no idea what kind of pitcher he is going to be when he gets to the mound. But we should be confident in him because he has won more games than he has lost so far for each month of the season. Let’s think about that… He has won more games each month. He is a winning pitcher, and should be recognised for that fact. He may give up hits, and runs. But he is not the only part of the problem in the Yankees. He is a pitcher that will win games only if he gets the back up from his hitters. Which cannot be said to be the case.
Look, this is the truth. Girardi is not a bunting coach. He seems to really dislike it. He seems to hate the idea of running a bunting play. But this is something that we need to get out of. The Yankees must not be sucked into a typecast mentality of “we must only score by hitting them out of the park.” That is nonsense. We need to remember that one of the best examples of the kind of plays we need to do more often was exemplified by Wee Willie Keeler. He was famous for saying that a batter should hit it “where they ain’t.” Yep that famous line, it goes all the way back to the early days of baseball. The early days of the Yankees too. Keeler was one of the best players of the dead ball era and one of the first stars to play for the Yankees back in the 1900s. He was one of those players who knew the value of trying to manufacture runs. This is a mindset that the Yankees needs to return to. Not throwing away the home run style of scoring, sure. But they need to think of trying to get the scores in when there are guys on the bases, because this has become the one big problem of the Yankees this year is their problem of leaving guys stranded when they could have got them home, if only they had only tried to play some good old fashioned dead ball. Tanaka will win tonight. But only if the Yanks can put runs on the board. There is too much at stake now. We are in the hunt, and every game counts now. We have to play as if we are in the post season now. Each game matters. It’s time for the Yanks to try and win every possible, legal way they can.
Man I am excited.