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Jonathan Holder has a realistic shot of making the All-Star team

Middle relievers have only recently started receiving universal recognition for their individual performance in Major League Baseball, due to the new age of numbers in the sport. Saves are no longer the all-telling, ultimate stat about a reliever’s success and WAR, ERA+, and other metrics have opened the eyes of fans on just how valuable it is for a team to have dominant relievers outside of the ninth inning role. Their widely agreed on importance has led to a lot of non-closer relievers making the All-Star team in recent seasons. The American League squad had two of them in 2017 and 2015, and a whopping four in 2016. If this trend continues, the AL should feature at least one or two non-closer relievers, and possibly more, with the scarcity of lockdown closers in the AL in 2018. The Yankees feature a lot of highly talented middle relievers and the pitcher who has surprised everyone the most, Jonathan Holder, has a very realistic shot of cracking the AL All-Star squad.

Tanaka lit up again as Yanks West Coast losing streak continues in 5-2 loss to A's

The Yankees entered Saturday’s contest looking to stop their season high losing streak at four games. Unfortunately for the Yankees, their West Coast struggles continued. Masahiro Tanaka had yet another disaster start, as he gave up five earned over four innings, while giving up three more home runs to tie Ricky Nolasco for the American league lead for homers given up by pitchers with 21 on the season. Not only did Tanaka struggle, but the Yankee offense struggled throughout the game managing only two runs on five hits leading to their fifth consecutive loss.  

AP Photo/Tony Avelar

Tanaka’s home run omen continued from pitch number one when Matt Joyce hit a solo shot on the first pitch of the game, giving the Oakland A’s a 1-0 lead. The Yankees scored their two runs in the second inning thanks to three consecutive singles from the bottom of the order starting with Ronald Torreyes and ending with an RBI single by Austin Romine, tying the game up at one. The next batter, Brett Gardner, hit a sacrifice fly to left field, earning him his 31st RBI on the year, handing the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the second inning.

The biggest issue for the Yankees on this road trip has been maintaining leads through the course of the whole game and this game was no different. The Yankees early 2-1 lead was quickly nullified by a solo home run off the bat of Ryon Healy. For Tanaka, the home run barrage wasn’t over quite yet, due to Healy's second homer of the game, which came in the fourth inning. Ultimately, this inning was the undoing for the Yankees, where a 2-2 ballgame turned into a 5-2 lead for the A’s. The other two runs for the A’s came via RBI singles from Adam Rosales and Jed Lowrie.

AP Photo/Tony Avelar

For the Yankees, it’s five straight losses. Tanaka picked up his seventh loss of the season, and the bats cooled off, scoring only two runs. Because of this result, the Yankees fall to 38-28 on the season, giving them only a half-game lead over the rival Boston Red Sox in the AL East Divisional race.
Winning Pitcher: Jesse Hahn(3-4, 3.56 ERA): 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
Losing Pitcher: Masahiro Tanaka(5-7, 6.34 ERA): 4.0 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 3 HR
Save: Sean Doolittle (2)

Ronald Torreyes: 2-4, R
Austin Romine: 1-4, RBI
Aaron Judge: 0-3, 3 K, 1 BB
Domingo German: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 R
Matt Joyce: 3-3, HR (8), 1 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB
Ryon Healy: 3-4, 2 HR (17), 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 K

Article by: Vinny Romita