Yankees wilt yet again in Masahiro Tanaka’s likely final start in Pinstripes


Did Masahiro Tanaka just lose the final start of his Yankees career? Yet again, the NYY have wilted with a lead in a playoff series.

It was on Masahiro Tanaka’s mind before his final regular season start in the road grays in Buffalo. His final debt of his seven-year contract in New York was about to be paid, and he admitted in the postgame that the gravity of the situation shook him up.

When Tanaka’s Yankees edged into the postseason, he got one more chance to justify the Yankees’ faith in him. To be Playoff Tanaka. Unfortunately, it was interrupted by a monsoon, and featured a far less effective version of his arsenal than he’d hoped.

But on Wednesday, with a pivot Game 3 ahead of him, Tanaka had yet another chance to prove his mettle. To return to the form that carried him through October in 2017 and 2018, defining his Yankees career. He arrived in the Bronx as the $155 million man, and if he leaves it, he’ll do so as a postseason hero on a number of teams that failed to get over the hump.

Unfortunately, Wednesday’s game did not go well, continuing a three-start October trend for the formerly formidable splitter artist.

We’re only speculating that this will be Tanaka’s final outing with the only American organization he’s ever known because he continues to drop big, bold breadcrumbs. And so, in the face of postseason disaster, we’re now doubly wrecked.

The organization has to pay DJ LeMahieu this offseason. They also must maintain pitching depth. This series, of all series, has proven that it’s possible for an MLB team to go nine or ten deep, instead of 1.5 like the Yanks. But it’s been New York’s ethos to be rather stingy at the margins, and with his recent efforts in mind, Tanaka is now firmly a margin dweller.

With regret, this now appears to be the fourth consecutive season in which the Yankees have run into a juggernaut-type team, which they asked for explicitly, and then fell apart.

Down 2-1 to Tampa Bay with Jordan Montgomery looming, and allowing multiple homers to the No. 8 and 9 hitters in the lineup, this certainly looks like the fourth straight season in which the Yankees will come up hilariously short of their ultimate goal.

And speaking of hilariously short, we also hope this isn’t the final time we ever get to see a helpless hitter whiff on Tanaka’s weather-proof dirt balls.