HOUSTON -- Masahiro Tanaka has been somewhat of a road warrior for the Yankees this season, but his last two starts, including Wednesday night's 4-1 loss to the Astros, haven't shown it.
After posting a Major League-best 1.14 ERA in his first eight road starts this season, the right-hander has since given up 11 runs -- seven earned -- in his last two road starts, a combined 9 2/3 innings pitched. Against the Astros on Wednesday night, Tanaka gave up seven hits and four runs in only five innings.
"We came in with a good stretch winning a couple of games in a row," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I wanted to go out there and obviously beat the opponent, but that didn't happen. Very disappointed about that."
One of the seven allowed hits was a big one: a two-run blast in the bottom of the third by Colby Rasmus that put the Astros up 4-0 early, a deficit the Yankees were unable to recover from.
"I think maybe the sharpness of his stuff was a little flat tonight," catcher Brian McCann said of Tanaka. "Rasmus made a good swing on a hanging split."
Tanaka described his split as "really off" and "flat" after Wednesday's loss. His stuff was off in his previous road start, too. The 27-year-old went only 4 2/3 innings and allowed 10 hits and seven runs in an 11-7 Yankees win over Cleveland.
With fatigue having been such a problem for Tanaka last season, manager Joe Girardi was questioned on if getting only four days' rest between starts might have affected his pitcher Wednesday.
"What am I gonna do?" Girardi responded. "He has to be able to pitch. We can't adjust a whole schedule around one person."
But Girardi wouldn't say fatigue wasn't a factor, either.
"It could've been," Girardi said. "First inning he looked really good. Couple other innings he looked really good. It could be. It's just hard. The last two years, his numbers were better."
Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Yankees on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.