Despite the Japanese right-hander’s latest rough outing – on Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox lit up Tanaka for five earned runs and three homers in five innings pitched – Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Wednesday that Tanaka will still take the mound for his next scheduled start, on Sunday against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN.
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild also confirmed to Marchand that Tanaka will indeed make another start, though Rothschild noted that he and Girardi will discuss moving that outing to Monday in Anaheim, to give Tanaka an extra day of rest.
Expectations were high for Tanaka after a successful 2016 season and monster performance in spring training – but the 28-year-old has instead turned into one of the worst starters in baseball. Tanaka’s 6.55 ERA trails only Bartolo Colon for the highest in all of baseball this season. Additionally, his 23.3 percent home-run fly-ball rate is the third highest in the league, behind two members of the Colorado Rockies’ rotation who pitch at high altitude. He’s allowed seven runs in four of his starts, and recorded double-digit strikeouts just once.
Still, there have been a few small bright spots, notably his 13-strikeout gem against Oakland last month, and a 97-pitch shutout performance at Fenway Park in April.
Tanaka can opt out of his seven-year, $155-million contract with the Yankees at season’s end.