Let’s start this post with a little stat: The Yankees are 7-1 when Masahiro Tanaka is on the mound and are 13-18 when the other starters are on the mound.
Just reading that stat makes you realize just how important Tanaka has been to the Yankees. There are many “Team MVP’s.” Last year, it was a tie between Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner, two guys who kept the team afloat long enough for them to be in contnention until the last week of the 2013 season. This year, it’s undoubtedly Masahiro Tanaka. When coming into play today, the Yankees are only 0.5 games out of first place despite being 20-19. For at least one night, Tanaka was able to make the Yankees forget their rotation and bullpen troubles.
“What he does is impressive,” Larry Rothschild said. “It’s impressive because he commands three and four pitches. If you ever talk about a smart pitcher, you can bet that they’re throwing three and four pitches for strikes. That’s what he does.”
It seemed during yesterday’s game, Tanaka had everything working for him. The fact he was able to go three times around the order and fool hitters such as David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Chris Young was something spectacular. No doubt his shining moment was in the seventh inning when he struck out the side–and those three hitters.
These guys had seen him twice,” Joe Girardi said. “Now there’s really not a whole lot of surprises on what his repertoire is. You’ve seen how his fastball comes out, and his slider and his split.”
So, how did the usually critical Masahiro Tanaka feel about his start last night after pitching nine innings and getting a base-hit?
“Obviously I have good days and bad days,” Tanaka said. “But overall, (last night) I think was my most complete outing.”