It’s safe to say Masahiro Tanaka was pretty awful on Sunday night. In fact, it was one of the worst outings of his career. He only lasted 1 2/3 innings and he gave up eight runs on seven hits, including four home runs. For this edition of About Last night, we’re going to look at those home runs: Who hit them, which pitches Tanaka threw and what went wrong.
In the first inning, Tanaka threw an 83.8 mph slider to George Springer that didn’t slide, stayed in the zone and Springer hit it 434 feet into Monument Park for Houston’s first run of the game.
Josh Reddick immediately followed Springer with a home run of his own. This time, Tanaka threw a 90.4 mph sinker that got too much of the plate and Reddick hit 385 feet off the facing of the second deck.
The next home run Tanaka gave up was the big blow of the game; a grand slam to Alex Bregman who hadn’t hit a home run all season. Tanaka threw an 87.6 mph splitter that didn’t split enough and Bregman tattooed the ball into the left field seats.
And finally, the fourth homer of the game was off the bat of Springer, again. It was a 90.2 mph sinker that, again, got too much of the plate.
You’re not going to get a lot of guys out if the pitches you usually throw with movement aren’t moving and are staying in the zone and that’s what happened on Sunday night. The Astros hitters feasted on pitches in the zone and made Tanaka pay.
After Joe Girardi removed him from the game, the fans vociferously booed Tanaka for ruining Derek Jeter Night and after the game, he told reporters that he deserved the boos because he didn’t do his job.
It’s not only that Tanaka didn’t do his job, he didn’t look right. And the Yankees have something to worry about because as Katie Sharp of River Avenue Blues tweeted, “Six qualifying pitchers in AL have an ERA above 5.75. Two of them are Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5.80) and CC Sabathia (5.77).” Yankee fans aren’t exactly shocked that Sabathia is having a rough go this season, but Tanaka is supposed to be the ace of the pitching staff and his performance thus far this season is a bit of a surprise. Another alarming aspect of Tanaka’s performance in 2017 is the fact that his elbow is hanging on by a thread which it makes outings like Sunday’s even scarier for the Yankees and their fans.
Some not-so-fun facts about Tanaka’s abbreviated outing:
- From Lou DiPietro of YES: It’s the second time Tanaka allowed four home runs in a game. He did it on September 21, 2016, against the Blue Jays.
- Again from DiPietro: It’s only the sixth time he’s given up three or more home runs and he gave up three to the first eight to the first eight batters.
- From Katie Sharp: Tanaka is the first pitcher in Yankee history to allow at least eight runs and four home runs in fewer than two innings pitched.
The Yankees better hope that this was just a “bad” outing for Tanaka because if it’s more than that, they could be in big trouble.
Photo Credit: Adam Hunger / USA TODAY Sports