Tanaka prepares to take the mound and batters box

Masahiro Tanaka 21

It’s no question Masahiro Tanaka can pitch; he’s 4-0 with an ERA hovering just above 2.00. He’s taking his talents to Milwaukee with hopes he can stifle the Brewers hitters–but he also might have to help his own cause since he has to hit. He’s been practicing with Larry Rothschild while the Yankees were in Anaheim but he’s not exactly fearless when it comes to the thought of him getting in the batters box against the opposing pitcher.

“(I am) a little bit scared,” Tanaka said.

Tanaka did some hitting in Japan and while he wishes that Larry Rothschild can pitch the Brewers series, his wish will sadly be denied. He’ll square off against Yovani Gallardo, who has helped the Brewers keep their best record in the National League. Manager Joe Girardi believes this series will be a tough one since the Brewers aren’t allowing many runs to score and are relying on their starting pitching to propel them to victory.

“We’re going in to play a team that’s playing extremely well in Milwaukee,” Girardi said. “They’re pitching extremely well and not giving up a lot of runs. I think they have the best record in baseball, so I don’t know how much history (of interleague success) is going to help us. Playing the National League team, it’s different, especially when you go to their ballparks and your pitchers are expected to hit. I know some of our guys are excited about that. I’m not so sure how excited I am about it.”

Unfortunately, there’s no DH, but the Yankees have guys who have played with National League rules in the past; Brian McCann, Kelly Johnson and Carlos Beltran to name a few. The one thing every fan has on their wishlist this series aside from a series victory is for the pitchers not to get hurt. Playing in a different league where the pitchers aren’t entirely used to the rules raises a warning flag.

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