New York Yankees Editorial: Loss by Masahiro Tanaka gives Yankees rough lesson


The New York Yankees have spent most of the season on top of the standings in the AL East, so when they sent Masahiro Tanaka, who has pitched like an ace since returning from the DL, to the mound Monday to take on a struggling Miami Marlins club that entered play just 27-37, they had to expect it to continue until at least Tuesday.

Tanaka, as expected, pitched great, throwing seven innings of two-run ball, while striking out six and walking none.  Having a healthy Tanaka is great, but the only offense the team could produce, with DH Alex Rodriguez out of the lineup, was a Mark Teixeira second-inning home run.

The loss showed that the Yankees will need their offense to produce if they have any hopes of making the playoffs.  When your ace limits the opposing team to one run over the first six innings, the offense has to find a way to give him run support.  Tanaka felt the loss was on him, however, stating:

"It’s not about our offense, I blame myself."

Tanaka’s humility aside, the loss was in no way his fault.  Yes, he did allow a go-ahead seventh-inning home run to Derek Dietrich, but that was basically his only mistake of the night.  Tanaka felt that the home run was a result of missing his spot:

"I was trying to go outside on him.  It kind of drifted inside."

Tanaka’s manager, Joe Girardi, felt that his ace pitched well, and that Marlins starter, Bronx-born Tom Koehler, benefited from solid defense behind him:

"I thought he [Tanaka] was pretty good.  You’re going to be in games like this.  The good news is that he pitched well.  There were some real good defensive plays that they made."

Girardi did have some support to his claims, as the Yankees produced six outs via line drives, with Chase Headley having two would-be hits taken away by Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.

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Even with their struggles the past two games, the Yankees enter play Wednesday with 290 runs, good for fourth in baseball, despite the struggles of many regulars.  Entering Wednesday, only five regulars had an OPS of even .300, and one of those five, Jacoby Ellsbury, hasn’t played since May 19th.

In a top-heavy line-up, Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Rodriguez, Teixeira, and Brian McCann have all thrived in the first half of the season.  If the Yankees want to compete, however, they will need Carlos Beltran and Chase Headley, both of whom have a cemented role, to step up their play.  So too will Stephen Drew and Didi Gregorius, though one of the two, if not both, could soon be replaced.

Many Yankees fans are ready to see Rob Refsnyder take over for either of the two middle-infielders, while they could also search for middle-infield help by trading for Ben Zobrist, or Dustin Ackley, if they do not feel Refsnyder’s defense is ready.

The organization feels that the success of the ballclub lies with Tanaka, and Michael Pineda, but if the offense cannot score enough to win when one of the two, or any starter for that matter, turns in a great start, the team could face the potential of a third straight October at home.

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