Monday, May 15, 2017

Now we hold our breaths

Last month, after Gary Sanchez swung too hard and went onto the Tweaked Gonad list, the Gammonites stuck a fork in us. We'd already lost Didi Gregorius to the World Baseball Classic, and now, the skies were raining fiery metaphors. We were done for the year. And then... lo and behold... Aaron Judge arrived from the heavens, Austin Romine and Ronald Torreyes hit above .300, and we enjoyed our most hopeful month of April since Joe Girardi discovered Windows Excel.

Today, despite having lost four out of five, we remain atop the AL East, a half-game ahead of Baltimore. Boston is mired in third, four games behind, one lonely victory above .500. We should be orgasmic. Sure, Houston has our number, but come October, nobody will care who ruled the pre-apocalyptic era before Memorial Day. Remember how George Steinbrenner mocked Dave Winfield as Mister May? Nobody cares until June 30. We are well above our worst pre-season fears. And yet... 

Today, we are staring into a certifiable abyss: We must ponder the fate of Masahiro Tanaka.

I've never seen him so ineffective as last night. No team has ever teed off on Tanaka like what we saw shortly after Derek Jeter ascended unto heaven. Today, we sit in that moment after the ball just landed in our crotch, and we are awaiting the agony. Something is wrong. They haven't yet diagnosed it. Or they haven't yet announced it. 

We might not know for days. When it comes to injuries, the Yankees are about as sharing as Vladimir Putin. And who knows... maybe this was a blip, a mulligan, and we will be yukking about it next week, after he shuts out Kansas City. But if Tanaka goes in for an MRI, we already know what it will show: A famously strained ligament that has shadowed every start for the last three years. He's pitched with it, heroically. But if he's getting hammered, they will look at it, and if there is trouble, the options become "awful" and "terrible." He can rest for six weeks or undergo surgery, and then return with James Kaprelian sometime in 2019. If we lost Tanaka, well, as The Chairman (not Whitey Ford, but the other one) once sang, "Ridin' high in April, shot down in May..."

Tanaka is not Gary Sanchez. We have no pitching equivalents of Austin Romine and Ronald Torreyes. If we lose our ace, the bullpen dominoes will start tumbling, and we are already stressed from the loss of El Chapo. 

Today, we are still in first. The world hasn't ended. And maybe it will be a blip, something we laugh: That one night when Tanaka seemed to lose it. Tonight, we sit and wait. Tomorrow, it's CC on the mound. Maybe the big guy can turn it around. Maybe he can be Torreyes and Romine. But hold your breath, folks. This time, if the Gammonites raise their forks, they might be right. 


KD said...

Does anybody reading this blog expect The Professor to make his next start? My Magic 8 Ball says "outlook uncertain" but I know better.

Anonymous said...

That performance from Massa' Hero Tanaka does scare hell outta' me, I must admit; but we need to remember that he had just given us a complete-game shutout, when we needed it most. The man was used to pitching once a week in Japan; he may well be injured, but - - let's wait a few days before giving up on him....anybody remember what happened with Big Mikey, the game AFTER he struck out the 15 batters?? LB (No J)