New York Yankees Are Contenders Even Without Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka

Joseph Garnett Jr.-Getty Images

The New York Yankees currently sit atop the American League East with a record of 31-20, and lead the division by three games. They’re doing it with one of the best offenses in baseball, led by Rookie of the Year candidate, Aaron Judge.

After dismantling the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, it’s becoming more evident that this season the Bronx Bombers are putting together isn’t a mirage. Judge leads baseball in home runs with 17, and hopeful All-Star Starlin Castro is fourth in baseball with 66 hits.

Left fielder Brett Gardner has been on a tear lately as well. Since April 29th, he has 11 home runs and 25 RBI, and in his last 25 games he’s slashing .330/.405/.691 with nine home runs, 21 RBI and 23 runs.

As a team the Yankees lead baseball in on-base-percentage, they’re second in home runs and top-three in slugging and OPS.

The numbers offensively are just ridiculous for the Yankees, and Gary Sanchez hasn’t even been up to his usual high standards at the plate. The most impressive part about the Yankees has been their pitching.

We know their bullpen is one of the best baseball has to offer. Dellin Betances in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman closing ball games is simply unstoppable. Chapman is currently on the DL, and just recently started playing long toss, but Joe Girardi is fine with Betances closing games for the time being.

Their starting pitching has been better than anyone in the organization could have expected. What’s most surprising is that they’ve succeeded with the team’s ace, Masahiro Tanaka, being less than impressive.

Tanaka is currently 5-5 with a whopping 6.34 ERA. It gets worse for Tanaka; he’s given up 14 home runs already, which is eight less than he gave up all last season. Add that to his .302 opponents’ batting average, and it’s safe to say it’s been a rough go for Tanaka.

It seems he does better when Austin Romine catches him compared to Sanchez. When Romine catches Tanaka, he has an ERA of 2.21. When caught by Sanchez, he has an ERA of 12.27.

Even with Tanaka’s struggles the rotation has still pitched fairly well. Luis Severino has outperformed the club’s expectations, and CC Sabathia has quietly had a solid season thus far.

The Yankees have solidified themselves as contenders in the American League mostly due to their offense. If their starting pitching can continue on their current pace, and Tanaka gets back to form then the sky’s the limit for this club.

They continue their four-game set with Toronto on Friday, and then have a six game home-stand against the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, which provides them with a chance to really stretch out their divisional lead.

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4 thoughts on “New York Yankees Are Contenders Even Without Masahiro Tanaka

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