Given Masahiro Tanaka‘s numbers in 2014, it’s practically a given that he’ll be named an All Star this season; he has an 11-2 record with an ERA barely over 2. However, just because Tanaka could be an All Star, it doesn’t mean he will play in the All Star Game.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, because of the Yankees decision to have Vidal Nuno make his start on Friday, Tanaka was pushed back a day, meaning his next four starts will be on Saturday, July 3rd against the Twins, July 8 against the Indians and July 13 against the Orioles. What’s the problem with July 13th? It’s the last game of the first half of the season. Only twice in 20 years has a pitcher started the last game of the first half and then start the All Star Game: Randy Johnson in 2000 and Brad Penny in 2006.
While it would have been incredible to see Tanaka in the All Star Game, the Yankees probably are breathing a sigh of relief. Tanaka has been their best pitcher this season and they probably wouldn’t want him to get hurt in a “meaningless game”. Not to mention he’s the shiny new toy worth seven-years and $175 Million.
Tanaka has been a ratings booster for National television networks such as FOX and ESPN, and to have Tanaka in the All Star Game would be huge since that game alone lives off ratings. But, the Yankees aren’t thinking about the All Star Game or ratings; they’re thinking about Tanaka’s well being and their team’s well being.
Well, if the All Star Game needs a ratings boost, you could always have Derek Jeter‘s final All Star Game as the main story. There’s almost a 100% chance Jeter makes it this year as well, whether voted as the starting shortstop or as a reserve by AL Manager John Farrell.