Saturday, May 10, 2014

Thirty-three in a row: Thank you, Mr. Tanaka, I'll have another, please...

The Evil Empire is now 19-15 - four games above .500. (Evil is not what it used to be.)

Our greatest evildoer is Masahiro Tanaka, now 5-0 - with 33 straight regular season wins, if you count his time in Japan. In games that he has started, the Yankees are 6-1. (The loss wasn't his fault; Baltimore won 5-4, after Tanaka came out in the 7th inning, yielding only three runs.) 

Right now, he is the Pride of the Yankees.

Take away Tanaka, and we would be a sub-.500 team, and though one could decry the small sample size, I don't think anybody would debate the conclusion. Take away Tanaka, and we are the New York Knicks. Without Tanaka, we are the 10,000 Maniacs without Natalie Merchant, the Blues Brothers without Belushi, and an endless, overseas war without Lara Logan.

Without Tanaka, we have no evil to spare. We're like George W. Bush without Dick Cheney, painting ourselves in the bathtub. Without Tanaka, we're MacBeth without his lady, Jesse without Walter White, Disney without the Insane Clown Posse. Without Tanaka, we are Kate Upton without her boobs, Jennifer Lopez without her butt, or Heidi Klum without her legs - which is Oscar Pistorius, in a way - and I'm starting to creep myself out, here. You get the picture. I'm going to shut up with the metaphors.

Without Mr. T - (wait, without Tanaka, we're Mr. T without his Mohawk) - not only would we lose a few of those six wins - I'd say we'd be 3-3 - but then you'd have to factor what other team signed him. What if he were pitching now for Boston or Baltimore? (Tampa - which drew a mere 11,000 two nights ago, isn't signing anybody.) Add him to either of those lineups, and the race in the AL East would be already be over.

It's been a while since the Evil Empire had a pitcher so full of malevolence that, in the sixth or seventh inning, you feel he can still pitch his way out of jams. Not since CC in 2009. Not since Andy, or Wang, or the Davids. When I think of Hal Steinbrenner's plan to lower the payroll to $187 million, at a cost of ceding 2013 to the Redsocks, all I can think is: Dear God, without Tanaka, where would we be?

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