Masahiro Tanaka has been struggling really badly of late, drawing the admonishment of new york yankees fans. In a year that has proven to be better than expectations suggest, the Japanese ace has been the biggest sore spot for the entire team. That was the case once again on Wednesday when he took the mound against the Baltimore Orioles, only to get hit around and increase the calls for his spot in the starting rotation to be eliminated.

Tanaka's latest poor outing

Tanaka came to the mound on Wednesday night with questions swirling about his recent performance; he did little to quiet down the noise.

He managed to make it through the first two innings unscathed on the road, a good sign - but only a temporary one. In the third and fourth inning, the pitcher - and by proxy, the Yankees - imploded against their AL East rivals.

After the first batter struck out, the next two reached base on singles. Center fielder Adam Jones doubled to bring in the first run of the game. Two batters later, Mark Trumbo did the same, driving home another two runs. By the end of the frame, Tanaka had surrendered four runs.

The next inning didn't go any better, with Jones adding another three runs on a homer to right center field. By the time Tanaka departed from the game, the Yankees trailed 7-3; they would eventually lose 10-4, dropping to 30-20 on the season.

New York fans losing faith

The struggles of Tanaka have become significantly more pronounced in recent weeks. He has given up at least four earned runs in four of his last six starts, capped by an eight-run debacle against the Houston Astros on the night the Yankees retired Derek Jeter's number.

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His ERA stood at 4.20 after shutting out the Boston Red Sox on April 27; now, it's at 6.34. New York won just two of his six starts in the month of May - his first two starts of the month, to be specific.

What the Yankees can do about him remains unclear. His onerous contract makes it difficult to send him down to the minors and no teams are likely willing to take on the financial challenge that comes with trading for Tanaka. Additionally, he has a player option for next season, one he will almost certainly pick up when comparing the money he is no longer likely to receive on the open market.

In other words, fans of the New York Yankees need to brace themselves - their one time ace pitcher could be around for the long haul and the team simply needs to work around any issues he presents.

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