It was a matchup of two young hurlers with dynamic stuff as the Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka faced off against the Cleveland Indians and Trevor Bauer. Things began promisingly enough, but unfortunately these silly affairs go nine innings.
The recently semi-resuscitated Yankees offense got on the board immediately in the first. A Brett Gardner walk and Jacoby Ellsbury single set up a Mark Teixeira bloop RBI single that made it 1-0. Then, the most magical thing happened. The Yankees successfully executed a double-steal with noted tortoise Teixeira taking second. It was aided by Yan Gomes' errant throw that Ellsbury scored on, but still. Teixeira stole a base and the Earth did not explode. 2-0 Yankees. The festivities were short-lived as the Indians got one back in the bottom of the inning thanks to a Jason Kipnis single and a Michael Brantley double. The Yankees countered in the top of the second by starting off with an Ichiro Suzuki single and a Kelly Johnson walk. Despite Bauer's issues and it being the second inning, "Bunt Enthusiast" Joe Girardi had Zelous Wheeler do the dreaded deed and advanced the runners. Gardner next brought in Suzuki with a groundout to make it 3-1, but the Yankees probably could have used the extra out they opted to give away.
Both pitchers were able to tame the offenses up until the Indians half of the fifth. Former Yankee favorite Chris Dickerson opened the inning with a single and came around on a second double from Brantley to make it 3-2. Tanaka was victimized again in the sixth when another former Yankee in Nick Swisher homered for the second time in two nights, this time with a man aboard and gave the Indians the lead at 4-3. The homer bugaboo bit Tanaka again in the seventh as Human Destroyer Michael Brantley hit a solo homer for his third extra base hit of the night and increased the Indians' lead to two runs. A Carlos Santana single then ended Tanaka's evening as Matt Thornton came in to relieve him and end the inning.
That's about it, people. The Yankees offense decided to turn in for the day after the second and let the scuffling Bauer get into a groove. They then offered little resistance to the Indians bullpen either as they failed to pick up their young ace on one of his few off nights. They mustered zero hits after the third inning. Way to go, guys.
So that's two tough outings in a row for Tanaka. I suppose entering panic mode is an option, but really the pace that he was going at was only sustainable for maybe Clayton Kershaw. Perhaps Felix Hernandez. A rough patch was bound to slow down Tanaka's reign of dominance, and it appears we're now in the middle of it. Adjustments will be made and hopefully he'll get back to his dominant ways in short order. Ideally there will be a little more offense waiting for him when he does.