What’s Going On With Masahiro Tanaka?

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Masahiro Tanaka has allowed far more than his fair share of home runs this season.

Coming into the 2017 season, the New York Yankees roster was surrounded by question marks. However, the one constant seemed to be that the team’s ace, Masahiro Tanaka, would continue his Cy Young-level performance and be the rock that the team desperately needed every fifth day.

Through two months of the season though, the reality has been anything but what had been prognosticated. The team has had a successful run with its other starters and the lineup has stayed healthy and scored runs, yet Tanaka has been nothing short of a bust.

Nine starts into his 2017 campaign, Tanaka is 5-3, but has a 6.56 ERA, has allowed 13 home runs (two less than he surrendered over all of his injury-shortened 2014 season), and is not giving the team any length out of his starts (average 5.1 IP/start).

So what’s wrong with Masahiro Tanaka? Let’s take a look and try and diagnose what’s ailing the Yankee ace.

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Analyzing Masahiro Tanaka’s Perceived “Struggles”

Masahiro Tanaka hasn't been as bad as some casual fans perceive him to be.
Masahiro Tanaka hasn’t been as bad as some casual fans perceive him to be, and one small tweak could change his career forever.

There seems to be a thought among many casual Yankees fans that Masahiro Tanaka is not performing up to expectations and is not all that he is cracked up to be.  While his outstanding rookie season had us all expecting more, that may have been an unfair expectation.  Tanaka has largely been the same pitcher in 2015 as he was in his stellar 2014 with one big exception: his home run rate has skyrocketed.  Is this a temporary setback, or a cause for concern?

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