Probably in last place; cold, alone, and without a shoulder to lean on; nobody would be there to pick them up; and this nightmare that is now the Yankees' pitching staff would have no savior.

The Yankees have lost six straight games to their intracity rivals the New York Mets, and if it wasn't for tonight's starting pitcher, a clean sweep in the Subway Series would seen like a real possibility for the second year in a row.

Every five days, there is a beam of hope that shines over Yankee Stadium, or wherever else this man is preparing to pitch.

His name is Masahiro Tanaka, and he's the only good thing going for the Yankees right now.

The Yankees' starting rotation entering Wednesday is nothing but bits and pieces of what is was on Opening Day. CC Sabathia is on the DL, Michael Pineda is on the DL, and Ivan Nova is done for the year. Both David Phelps and Vidal Nuno, who was knocked around roughly last night, giving up seven runs in just 3.1 innings, are starters now after starting the season in the bullpen, and Chase Whitely will be called up for his first Major League start tomorrow night.

Thank god for Tanaka, eh?

The Yankees' best starter this season comes into his start tonight against the Mets at Citi Field with his perfect 5-0 record on the line. Accompanying his record is a 2.75 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and a 58/7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 49 innings.

Signed to a seven-year, $155 million contract this past winter, Tanaka has been everything -- and then some -- that the Yankees wanted. They needed a top-tier starter -- he's been that. They needed someone to lead the rotation -- well, I haven't seen Sabathia do that at all this year, so I'd have to give that title to Tanaka.

Is he still a No. 3 start, Brian Cashman? Hell no.

The trade market is not really an option this early in the season, unless the Yankees are really willing to over-pay for some No. 3 starter at best, and even then, their farm system isn't good enough to pull of such trades.

At this point, on a four-game losing streak, and looking terrible lately, all I can say is this about the Yankees: without Tanaka, this team would be in far more trouble than they already are. The Yankees have scored over 4.5 runs in their last four games, and have lost them all. The AL East is pretty soft this year, but without pitching, you can't win in this division.

The Yankees are probably crying right now at the sight of their rotation, but at least Tanaka is there to cheer them up.

Twitter: @GavinEwbank