Masahiro Tanaka off to “so-so” start

Masahiro Tanaka 20

If you’re a Yankee fan, you would think Masahiro Tanaka is by far the best Yankees pitcher in the rotation; I surely believe so. However, if you ask Tanaka how he believes he’s doing so far, he’d say he’s doing “so-so”. So-so? A pitcher with a 3-0 record and a 2.27 ERA is doing so-so for the New York Yankees? Sounds like another tough evaluation on himself, which reminds me of former Yankee Andy Pettitte.

Although Tanaka doesn’t give himself too much credit, manager Joe Girardi does and he believes Tanaka has been a huge addition to the Yankees rotation.

“I think he’s done pretty good,” Girardi employed slight sarcasm in the sentence, hinting Tanaka has done more than pretty good. “He expects an awful lot of himself. He kind of set a high standard for himself last year, and I don’t know if he’s comparing it to that, but he expects a lot from him. I think that’s what really pushes him to be great.

Tanaka believes he’s so-so because he’s given up runs early in games, but on the contrary, he’s actually been very good in shutdown situations, even when he was struggling against the Angels last Sunday. Tanaka aims to be great, and he’s proven he can do that so far, but he also sets an incredibly high standard for himself.

“I think probably the biggest thing that we’ve learned about Tanaka is that he’s going to find a way to get it done,” Girardi said. “No matter what his stuff is that day, and no matter what he goes through early in the game, he’s going to find a way to stick around and give me a good chance to win. That’s what I’ve seen from him so far.”

Some Notes

— The Yankees are facing David Price tonight, and I found a very interesting stat pertaining to the Yankees and left handed pitching: They’re third in the American League and sixth overall with a .292 batting average against left handed pitching. The Yankees also have a .353 OBP (second in the AL/fifth in the majors) and a .444 SLG (third in the AL/seventh in the majors).

— This is a big start for Vidal Nuno as he attempts to get the Yankees back on track. The Yankees lost two straight (although it feels like more due to the rain out and off day), so they’d like to start the series on the right foot.

— Here’s another interesting stat I found in my notes today: The Yankees have not won a season series against the Tampa Bay Rays since 2009 (11-7). Since 2010, the Yankees have been 0-3-1. However, in home season series, the Yankees are 12-3-1 all time vs. Tampa Bay. The only times they had a losing record was in 2013 (3-7), 201o (4-5) and 2005 (3-6).

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