It's been a frustrating 3-game losing streak for the Yanks. Their offense hasn't been able to get anything done, against big name familiar foes or no name first-timers, the rotation has been uneven, and the baby shit soft back end of the bullpen has been a killer when it's been called on. The Yankees added a fresh arm to that back end in Al Aceves before the start of today's game, but I think they were hoping he wouldn't be needed to support Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka has been the ace through 5 starts and his team needed a big ace-like performance from him today.
- He wasn't looking very ace-like early. He gave up a solo homer to Desmond Jennings in the top of the 1st, a second run on a trio of singles in the 2nd, and a third on a Wil Myers solo shot to lead off the 4th.
- The Yankee lineup didn't do much to help Tanaka against Tampa starter Jake Odorizzi the first time through. He retired the first 9 in order with 3 strikeouts and it was shaping up to be another long day.
- Something funny happened after the Myers HR though. Tanaka got it together and shut Tampa down while Odorizzi fell apart and let the Yankees take over. It started with a Mark Teixeira 2-run shot in the bottom of the 4th to make it 3-2, his 4th HR in 5 games.
- It continued in the 5th with an Ichiro double, a Solarte walk, and an RBI ground-rule double by Jacoby Ellsbury. That knocked Odorizzi out of the game and the re-energized Yanks beat up on the bullpen to the tune of 6 more runs in the next 3 innings.
- Once his team got on the board, it was like Tanaka had new life. He gave up a single single in his final 3 innings, with 3 strikeouts and 5 groundouts. His sinker and splitter came back to him and he rode them to strong finish.
- Equally strong finish by the bullpen. Dellin Betances worked a scoreless 8th with 2 more strikeouts and Preston Claiborne a perfect mop-up 9th.
- Ellsbury: 3-4, 1 2B, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB. Another excellent day setting the table at the top for Jake.
- Brett Gardner: 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 K, 3 LOB. And an almost equally excellent day in the 2-hole for Gardy. He was only there because Jeter got the day off, but Joe might want to start entertaining the idea of using these 2 at the top more often.
- Teix: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 LOB. This week has been vintage Teix, 2009-2010 edition. I think it's safe to say the wrist is back to 100% now.
- Brian McCann: 1-5, 1 2B, 1 K, 6 LOB. Still waiting for the breakout and the consistency to come. Almost 30 games in, it's fair to say he's been a disappointment so far.
We got a little lefty-on-lefty action in tomorrow afternoon's series finale when CC Sabathia and Erik Bedard get the starts. A big start from the big guy and a series win before heading out west would be fantastic.