Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tanaka Time in Hope Week

This afternoon, the Empire will seek to take three out of four from the rapidly diminishing Royals, and Masahiro Tanaka will seek to achieve the Zen-like tranquility that comes from avoiding the MRI.

Lately, Tanaka has insisted that nothing is wrong, he feels no pain, all is groovy, and he never even thinks about that billion dollar opt-out clause - a notion he dismisses like Melania slapping away the Donald's groper. But in his last two starts, he's been Sidney Ponson, which means he's one more shelling away from the horror tube. And we all know the reality: If Tanaka gets scanned, he'll be carrying mental printouts of a glowing elbow for the rest of the season, if not the rest of his career. He can opt out of the Yankees, but can he opt out of his own insecurities?

Today, we learn if Tanaka can forestall a visit to that limbo of the lost - Tampa - where the Yankee brass sends all who are getting hammered, without a known reason. If Tanaka can succeed - I'm thinking six innings with less than four runs - we can enjoy our Memorial Day barbecues knowing that everything in the Yankiverse seems to be working. We are two and a half games ahead of the AL East, baby, two and a half games up. Consider...

1. Eleven days into Aroldis Chapman's shut down - which was expected to last a month - we are 6-6 without him. The problem is not in the ninth, where Dellin Betances last night appeared to strike out the side on eight pitches. It's the sixth and seventh, where Adam Warren has mysteriously turned into Mr. Hyde. Warren always goes through a lean stretch - last year, around now, the Cubs gave up on him due to it - but he is definitely not helping us. Maybe Bryan Mitchell or Chad Green can pick up the slack. Or maybe we just have a starting pitcher get us into the seventh?

2. Jacoby Ellsbury - the official IIH rented whipping mule - injured his neck with a heroic catch last night. He'll be out for a week, though in Ellsbury time a week can mean 30 days. With due respect to Ellsbury - who always gives his best - we should be just fine. Watch that neck heal after Aaron Hicks smacks a few home runs. As fourth outfielder, we can call up Brigadoon Refsnyder or Classical Gas Mason Williams to fill the void. Meanwhile, last night at Scranton, the three contenders for any long term stint - Tyler Wade, Dustin Fowler and Clint Frazier - all homered. (And Gleyber Torres, playing 3B, batted third.)

3. Luis Severino, holy shit! Last night, he was throwing the change-up effortlessly and for strikes. On top of that, his last pitch of the night - deep into the eighth - came in at 98 mph. If he continues like this, the Yankees will be light years ahead of pace in rebuilding projections. 

It's Tanaka Day in Hope Week, folks. But no matter what happens... two and a half games up, baby! Two and a half. That's a cause for hope.


Anonymous said...


Local Bargain Jerk said...

...or Classical Gas Mason Williams...

My hat is always off to someone who makes a cultural reference that maybe six people will get at first glance...

...and I say that as a proud member of the International Brotherhood of Jazz Dancers, Pastry Chefs and Nuclear Technicians.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Where is the swan . . . didn't IT take out Ells?

Is the thing SHY now?

John M said...

Today's Tanaka Day, also known as Elbow Is Shit But No Way Am I Admitting It Day, has been rained out. That means tomorrow night we will have to suffer through another game in the Professor's "bad patch", otherwise known as an undiagnosed injury.

Too bad about Jacoby. It was a great catch, at least. Refsnyder has emerged from the mists of Scrantadoon to hit a 7-hop single in the hole, his only hit for however long he's here, and to make at least one questionable play on defense that has Kay and Kenny quietly shaking their heads. The Yankees screwed up his head so badly, we'll never really know if he could have been any good. The position player Joba, sans trampoline.

Hey, hey, LBJ...I got the same reference as you today. Used it myself a few times in the past. It's irresistable. If only we had a double play tandem of Zager and Evans.

Alphonso said...

The Swan had other priorities when Jacoby ran into the wall.

But Jacoby is always in his sights. The issue here is duration.

The yankees are hoping that Refsnyder will hit three fingers in 7 appearances, so they can trade him for fresh meat.

Probability of the former; .001%

Probability of the latter: 92% ( fresh meat, of course, can be from a coyote).

Alphonso said...

Plus, if the Swan remembers correctly, you challenged him to take our Jacoby. He doesn't do that.

But he does reveal injuries to be far worse than reported by the Yankees.

See Greg Bird.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

You should already know this: If Tanaka pitches well tomorrow, there will be widespread talk that "it just proves the guy needs an extra day of rest, which is what he got in Japan."

Just sayin' --