- Mike Petriello, ESPN Insider
We don't know when or where the New York Yankees' 2014 season will end. With the tremendous level of parity in today's MLB, it's hard to get a read on any team's playoff shot at the halfway mark -- perhaps least of which, that of the Yankees, who have been crippled by injuries and have one of the worst run differentials in the majors and yet are nevertheless four games over .500.
If there is one thing we do know about this year's Yankees, it's that Masahiro Tanaka has been so much more than what the team could have ever hoped for. Following Tuesday's 10-strikeout dismantling of the Toronto Blue Jays, Tanaka leads all of Major League Baseball in xFIP, swinging-strike percentage and getting batters to swing at pitches outside the zone. He's also third in ERA and K:BB ratio. The jump from Nippon Professional Baseball to the MLB didn't faze Tanaka even a little bit; rather, given his performance thus far -- he has yet to give up three earned runs in 14 starts -- one wonders if there's an even higher league that the Yankees' new ace could be promoted to.
In his first year with the Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka is having a season for all time. But his brilliance alone won't be enough for the Yankees to make the playoffs.