On Sunday, the Yankees lost another game to worsen their record to 6-9 and dropped yet another series to a team they are expected to beat. The 5-9 White Sox sent out a pitching staff that silenced the not so booming bombers, surrendering only four hits the entire game. Similarly concerning was Tanaka’s meltdown in the 4th inning. After looking tremendous in the first 3 innings, he seemed like a different pitcher in the 4th and promptly loaded the bases and gave up a grand slam.
What happened to Tanaka? Tanaka entered the game on a roll holding a 1.47 ERA and continued that roll through his first time through the White Sox lineup. In these first 3 innings, he generally kept the ball down, however even though no damage was done, some of his pitches wandered up in the zone. The double he gave up to Moncada in the first was a fat splitter right down the middle.
Moncada again got Tanaka in the 4th to kick off the beginning of the end of Tanaka’s day. The four pitches he threw to him were as follows: Hanging slider up - Ball; Fastball up - Ball; Splitter down the middle - Foul, and splitter down the middle - single. He continued the trend of hanging pitches with another hanging slider down the middle to the next hitter. I think Tanaka realized he was leaving pitches up and over compensated when he walked the next two batters by throwing missing his spots down consistently. Then with bases loaded all of his pitches culminated in a splitter down the middle to Anderson who smoked it to right center for a grand slam. Chalk it up to a bad day for Tanaka. Everyone has one and better to have it early in the season than in October.
Takeaways - It is hard to draw too many conclusions from yesterday's game since we saw a shell of the team we expect to take us into October. If there are any takeaways, it is that Judge continues to look great and has been that consistent force keeping the team together.
It is still early and there is plenty of time to rebound. Just look at the 2018 World Champion LA Dodgers. They started the season 6-9 eventually plummeting to 16-26 and fell 9 games behind first place in the division. As we know, they went on the win the division and a title. While it is not encouraging to see the Yankees perform the way we have seen recently, it is too early to hit the panic button. Let the team get healthy and see how things pan out the next few weeks before we jump to any conclusions.
Next week the Yankees sights should turn from white to red as Boston Red Sox visit NY. Boston has been going through their own struggles, so this week will provide a good opportunity to put a little distance between us and them.