The Yankees lost to the Orioles again last night, but that wasn’t the real story. Everyone in this division seems to be struggling (mostly against one another), so wins and losses right now are not a huge deal to me. What was a huge deal was that this was Masahiro Tanaka‘s second major league start. Again, he was a bit shaky at the start, but he got it together and pitched great.
Last time, Tanaka gave up a leadoff home run to Melky Cabrera of the Blue Jays. This time, he gave up a three-run home run on a hanging slider to Jonathan Schoop pronounced Scope). This put the Yankees in an early 3-0 deficit, but they would battle back (more on that in a moment). Tanaka seemed to adjust after that and, although he had many runners on base in this one, he never again allowed a runner to cross the plate. Overall, Tanaka pitched 7 innings, allowing only those 3 runs on 7 hits and 1 walk (hist first of the year). More impressively, Tanaka struck out 10 Orioles. Like I said, his location seemed a little off in this one, but overall I came away impressed. I still have Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa flashbacks when he gets guys on base, but I’m starting to get more and more confident in our new import. He just has to learn that a bad pitch in Major League Baseball will get hit a lot harder than one in Japan.
The Yankees only scored 4 runs in this game, but I did see some great positives in the box score. First of all, Carlos Beltran went 3-3 with a walk, a single, a double and his first home run of the year. He hasn’t looked good at the plate at all, so any multiple hit night is a welcome sight. Alfonso Soriano continued his hot hitting, driving in a run and doubling to spark a mimi-rally in the 9th. Brett Gardner had 2 hits of his own, including a double, and Kelly Johnson hit his team leading second Home Run in this contest as well. The Yankees just need to get all of these guys rolling at he same time, and the league will be in trouble. Right now, they’re still struggling with men in scoring position, and that showed late in the game, when they couldn’t get the “big hit.”
The bullpen provided the last sour note of the evening when Shawn Kelley allowed 2 runs in the top of the ninth, but it really wasn’t that bad. I felt that Kelly allowed a lot of softly hit balls that happened to fall in, which is a very tough way to lose a game. He was basically blooped to death. That being said, it really is dawning on me that Mariano Rivera isn’t walking through that door. We wouldn’t be feeling the heat nearly as much if David Robertson hadn’t strained his groin, but that’s life. Adam Warren was solid in this game, getting out of a self created jam in the 7th.
Once again, let’s check in on the Yangervis Solarte MVP watch. He kept his hitting streak alive with a total bloop single in the bottom of the 5th. Unfortunately, even he was unable to save us from this loss, grounding into a game ending double play after the Yankees had pulled to within one run in the 9th.
Up next, the Sox come to town for four big games, and Jobu himself will be in the house on Friday night. Let’s hope the Yankees get some momentum rolling!
Featured image courtesy of: Robert Sabo/New York Daily News
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