Friday, April 10, 2015

The Curious Case of Masahiro Tanaka

If you are already tired of hearing about Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow this season after just one start raise your hand. I regret to inform you that if you are reading this you will have to hear about his ulnar collateral ligament at least one more time because that’s the topic at hand for this blog post. Another raise your hand type group activity, raise your hand if you’re confused on what the hell is going on with Tanaka this season? I mean is he throwing more two seam fastballs and adjusting his mechanics to save some wear and tear on his elbow? Is he doing it to give the hitters a different look and keep them off balance this season? Is it a little of both? If it is then just say so.

We’ve heard that we, the fans, should expect a dip in velocity from Tanaka this season as he throws more two seam fastballs and less four seam fastballs. This makes sense on paper because his four seamer was probably hit the hardest of any of his pitches in 2014, pre and post-surgery, so giving opposing teams a new look can never hurt. Despite what ESPN said (and said again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again and again) Tanaka did not throw less fastballs on Opening Day and his velocity was pretty consistent with his 2014 numbers but the Yankees are still defending the treatment of their 25 year old ace.

Over the winter we heard that Tanaka altered his mechanics and repertoire a bit to accommodate his right UCL and now Joe Girardi is telling the media that the change is simply strategic and not health related at all. I can understand wanting to change your approach for the better and I whole heartedly understand that it will probably take a few starts, real starts not spring training starts, to adjust to new mechanics, new pitches and a new approach but just shoot me straight. Is it to protect the elbow or is it to improve on his 2014 campaign?

Does the Yankees brass even know anymore? This is less the curious case of Masahiro Tanaka and more so the confusing case of Masahiro Tanaka. I’m lost and now I don’t know what to expect. The team is already pulling the “lost in translation” card and pulling the language barrier excuses? It’s April 10th. Just admit it, Tanaka does not trust his stuff and until, and unless, he does the Yankees are going to suffer for it. I’ve said this many times, don’t pee on me and tell me it’s raining. I can deal with pee, and rain, as long as I know what I’m walking into and as long as I know to keep my mouth closed.

So which is it Girardi? Do you even know?’

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)