...Kevin Kernan, for this stunning piece of overly-sensationalized, factually devoid, panic-pandering trash. In a season filled with back seat doctoring, Mr. Kernan has somehow leapt them all with this take. Let's feast on this buffet of goodness, shall we, with Mr. Kernan's opener:
This was the sound and the fury.
And the Yankees better take this warning to heart as the decline of Masahiro Tanaka continues.
"...as the decline of Masahiro Tanaka continues"? We've been through this before, with the second guessing of the doctors, but hey, facts don't seem to be a prerequisite for Mr. Kernan or The Post, who pays him to grind his pencil into the paper with a ferocity and anger which should be better applied to warcrimes.
Yes, our favorite elbow ligament surrounded by the body of Tanaka is a source of angst and nervousness for us all, but let's sneak a quick peek at his last three starts since returning from the DL:
That's right: Three starts, 1.71 ERA, a grand total of 4 earned runs over 21 innings (an even 7 IP/start). Strike out rate of 1 per inning with a WHIP of <1 per inning. How about a 21:0 K:BB ratio? And that game he lost, the last game prior to yesterday, was a 2-1 heartbreaker. Sure, small sample size warnings abound, but when facing off against a 1 game sample size that Mr. Kernan is thrashing, three games seems like a Library of Congress-level of "evidence".
Oh wait, Mr. Kernan has looked at this evidence and sees evil:
This was Tanaka’s fourth start since coming back from his wrist and forearm issues. He had been 3-0 over that span, but perhaps the wear and tear is catching up to his right arm, which has a slight tear in the ulnar collateral ligament.
In his last two outings, Tanaka has surrendered 19 hits and four home runs over 12 innings. Red flag time. He said his arm is fine.
"He said his arm is fine". Maybe it is. But then again, Mr. Kernan --or should I call him Dr. Kernan-- has been beating the Tommy John surgery drum for ages (a link from older article):
Tommy John surgery has yet to be scheduled for Tanaka, but that is just a matter of time, too. It always is just a matter of time when it comes to these types of elbow injuries.
Tanaka clearly was in a state of denial Tuesday night outside the Yankees’ clubhouse when he was talking about the latest arm issue that will put him on the disabled list for at least 15 days.
It’s time to change game plans. This is not working. He needs to have Tommy John surgery to have any chance of getting back to being the kind of pitcher the Yankees thought they were getting when they shelled out $175 million.
For Pete's sake, Doc, just trust in the PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED physicians handling Tanaka to make the best call for this individual. He is not a robot with a faulty circuit. His body might be different than others.
Back to the article in question... Tanaka had a horrible game yesterday. It happens. Again, ball players are not video game players or robots. Every pitcher, ever, in the history of this wonderful game, have had horrible games. It does happen to the very best. Remember what we did to King Felix not too long ago? I betchya Doc Kernan wasn't advocating TJS for him.
How would Doc Kernan remedy this latest Tanakadebaclea? Let's go get a guy who also had an elbow issue this season and is a pending free agent:
To that end, the Yankees need to go out and land a quality starting pitcher — hello, Mike Leake or Johnny Cueto from the Reds — as soon as a losing team is ready to unload an arm.
Now, I would love to see Cueto in pinstripes, but probably not at the cost required. To throw his name out there with at least mentioning his elbow pain is misleading at a joke. [His MRI came back clean, but again, it's worth a mention if you're going to throw the name out there as a solution.] Mike Leake is a fine pitcher, nothing special.
The Yanks have a whole lot of needs to resolve but Tanaka is not even close to the Top 5. If he hits the DL, then yes, Tanaka is worth worrying about. For now, it was one bad game on a steamy Sunday, following three starts that were otherwise exemplary.
Doc Kernan, please get off that ledge and stop trying to drag the rest of us with you. We ain't going.