The Yankees have sustained a big setback with the pennant chase coming down to the end, announcing Sunday that right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will miss his next scheduled start, Wednesday at Toronto, because of a strained right hamstring. Coming into their game Sunday night against the Mets, the Yankees trailed the Blue Jays by three games in the AL East standings, and led the AL wild card by 3 1/2 games. Not having their best starting pitcher for a showdown with the Jays is a big disability.
Ivan Nova, recently removed from the rotation for a lack of effectiveness, will make Tanaka's start instead.
Tanaka's injury happened during his at-bat in the second inning Friday night, when he was running out a bunt against the Mets. Tanaka stayed in the game until the sixth inning, a 5-1 loss. He has a Grade 1 strain, the New York Daily News and other outlets report.
One of the negatives of the Astros moving to the American League before the 2014 season -- which balanced the NL and AL with 15 teams apiece -- meant needing to have interleague play virtually every day. In seasons prior to '14, the Yankees and Mets would not be playing in September, so close to the playoffs; interleague games tended to be bunched around the middle of the season. American League pitchers didn't used to worry about having to bat in September.
Tanaka has a 3.38 ERA, with 136 strikeouts and 26 walks, in 149 innings. Nova has a 5.11 ERA in 14 starts, including a 7.46 ERA over his past seven starts.