We’ve seen it in almost every one of Masahiro Tanaka’s starts–the moment he bends but does not break. Last night, it came in the bottom of the 6th inning. The Yanks had a 4-0 lead and Tanaka had only given up a pair of singles over the first 5 innings. But he allowed back-to-back doubles to start the 6th and then a single. Now, the score was 4-2 and with a man on first Tanaka fell behind Aramis Ramirez, 3-0. Ramirez took a called strike and then fouled off the next 5 pitches.
Here was the game. If Tanaka loses the battle with Ramirez, maybe the pitchers’ night is over. Instead, on the 10th pitch of the at bat, Ramirez hit a hard ground ball right to Derek Jeter who converted it into a double play.
Bend not broke.
Tanaka struck out the first man in the 7th but then allowed a couple of base hits and this time, his pitch-count over 100, Joe Girardi replaced him with Adam Warren. The Yanks got a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play to get out of it. They added a run, and so did the Brewers. The big hit was a 3-run home run by Yangervis Solarte as the Yanks beat the Brewers, 5-3.