New York Yankees rumors about a possible Masahiro Tanaka injury are getting discussed on nearly every baseball show Monday morning (June 19). Tanaka has struggled for the Yankees this season, making a lot of MLB analysts feel that there has to be something wrong with his arm or shoulder. During Monday’s episode of Boomer & Carton on WFAN, that very issue was discussed. Tanaka was on the mound for the Yankees against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday (June 17) but ended up posting his seventh loss of the season.
Lasting just four innings, Tanaka gave up five runs on eight hits, which included three home runs by the Athletics. Tanaka now has a 5-7 record for the Yankees this season, but even worse, is that he now has a 6.34 ERA to go along with it. He isn’t performing like the “ace” that Yankees fans were expecting to see on the mound this season and a lot of questions are getting posed to manager Joe Girardi.
One of the core components to these New York Yankees rumors is a lot of analysts stating that Masahiro Tanaka’s pitch velocity is down. A report by FanGraphs states that this is an incorrect assumption and that Tanaka is actually pitching harder than he was during the 2016 MLB season.
— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) June 13, 2017
Tanaka is struggling against hitters from both sides of the plate, allowing 10 home runs to left-handed hitters and 11 home runs to right-handed hitters already this season. Opponents are hitting a combined 0.293 against him, but he is also striking out hitters at a higher rate, raising more questions about what is taking place. Joe Girardi says that Tanaka is not injured, but is there something going on with his arm that hasn’t been diagnosed yet?
— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzNYDN) June 13, 2017
Tanaka is throwing his four-seam fastball less, relying too much on his sinker, and he is leaving his splitter over the middle of the plate more than in the past. To put it bluntly, Tanaka’s splitter isn’t splitting, making it easier for opposing hitters to send over the outfield wall. Regarding his sinker, opponents are hitting 0.363 off the pitch this season, with eight of those home runs coming off the pitch. It’s even worse off of his two-season fastball, as he is allowing a 0.392 average off that pitch.
By moving away from his four-seam fastball, some red flags are getting sent up for some analysts. Last season, opponents only hit 0.169 against that four-seamer, making it one of the deadliest pitches in baseball. So why isn’t he using it more often this year? Is the arm-angle causing him pain that he is trying to work around? Maybe he is just tipping his pitches? Every way the pitching style of Masahiro Tanaka gets analyzed this year yields negative results, causing many New York Yankees rumors to suggest the team needs to add more pitching.
[Featured Image by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images]