DETROIT — Credit Masahiro Tanaka for honesty.
Asked if he was happy to avoid having to pitch Sunday night in what would have been bitterly cold and damp conditions, the righthander gave a slight smile.
“A little bit, yeah,” Tanaka said through his translator late Sunday afternoon after the game against the Tigers was postponed because of a heavy winter mix that doused Detroit much of the day. “But you always have to be ready to play in any kind of circumstances, any kind of bad weather. But yeah, to be honest with you, it’s always better to pitch on days that are a little bit more sunnier.”
It was the second rainout in a week for the Yankees, whose home opener last Monday was postponed because of wet weather. No official makeup date for Sunday night’s postponement was announced.
Tanaka won’t get sunnier conditions for his next start, but he will get significantly warmer and drier ones in Tuesday night’s series opener against the Blue Jays inside Rogers Centre. He will be followed by Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi.
Joe Girardi acknowledged the benefit of having Tanaka, with whom injury is always a concern, not starting in frigid weather. But overall he wasn’t pleased with the disruption.
“You’re not crazy about the rainout because you have to come back on an off day and that’s not what you want to do, and now all of a sudden your pitchers are on seven days and I’m not crazy about that,” Girardi said. “I would have much preferred to play today.”
Additionally, with Monday being dark on the schedule, the postponement gives the Yankees consecutive days off, something no manager wants early in the season as teams get used to the day-to-day grind. “You never want two days off,” said Girardi, whose club worked out at Comerica Park in the early evening before heading to Toronto.
He hopes the stop-and-start first week doesn’t disrupt the rhythm his offense has found. The Yankees lead the AL in runs with 35, aided by bottom-of- the-order hitters Starlin Castro (.450/.476/.850 slash line) and Didi Gregorius (.333/.350/.500). They have scored at least eight runs in three of their last four games.
“I give them a lot of credit because so far this season, there really has not been a weak link in the lineup. They’ve all contributed,” Girardi said. “That makes it much more difficult on teams to navigate through our lineup. It’s really nice to see, and when you’re swinging the bats well, you don’t always want all these days off, but maybe it will help us even more.”
The mostly awful weather in the Northeast and Midwest all week brought a familiar question from fans and managers alike: In early April, why not schedule as many games as possible in warm cities or those that have domes?
“I think we’ve talked about that for years. I’m not sure really why it happens,” Girardi said. “We were here last year for four in April]. I’d really like to see us start within our division the first month as much as you can. I know there’s five teams and those games you try to go to warmer cities if you can. But it didn’t happen, and we have to deal with it.”