Tanaka continues to struggle; Yanks limp into All-Star break

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka struggles again (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

(Rich Quiñones) – The New York Yankees could not get to the All-Star break fast enough after Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in  the Bronx. New York heads into the break with a 45-41 record and find themselves just three-and-half games back of the Boston Red Sox in the A.L. East, but they have struggled over the last month and a half, dropping 18 of their last 25 games.

It was a solid first half for New York, which surprisingly found themselves in first place up until the last month or so.

The emergence of players like Aaron Judge, Jordan Montgomery and Luis Severino have created a buzz with Yankees’ fans.

Judge, a rookie star, leads the league with 30 homers and OPS (1.139) and will participate in Monday night’s Home Run Derby in Miami.

However, issues with the club’s starting rotation and their bullpen have recently reared its ugly head for New York.

Masahiro Tanaka, who was superb last year for the club with a 14-4 record, has had issues with consistency this season and things got worse Sunday.

After three very solid starts, Tanaka struggled against the Brewers, as he did not even make it through five innings. He gave up five earned runs and two homers, taking the loss and falling to 7-8 with a 5.47 ERA on the year.

The 28-year-old Tanaka has allowed 34 earned runs in six day games this season and his ERA is a staggering 14.81 as opposed to 3.10 in 12 starts at night.

“I don’t know why,” Tanaka said through an interpreter regarding his struggles after Sunday’s loss. “I actually like pitching in day games.”

“His stuff wasn’t very crisp,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after New York dropped two of three to the Brewers. “You can’t schedule players around when they’re good and when they’re not good,” he added.

The All-Star game will be played Tuesday night as Chris Sale will become the first pitcher to make consecutive All-Star starts representing different teams. The current ace of the Red Sox will represent the AL, while Washington’s Max Scherzer will open for the NL.

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