Masahiro Tanaka became the definition of the word “Ace” last night against the Mets. With the Yankees mired in a four game losing streak, and having only won four games this month coming into last night, they needed Tanaka to nail down a win. They also needed him to give the much maligned bullpen a needed rest. He accomplished both goals, shutting the Mets out for a big 4-0 win. Here’s how it all went down.
It was very apparent that Tanaka had his best stuff from the get go in this one, and, as he has in his other starts, he seemed to get stronger as the game went along. In all, he went all nine innings, giving up only 4 hits, 0 waslk and 0 runs while striking out 8 Mets. He needed a season high 114 pitches to do it, but as Joe Girardi said, they were easy pitches, as the 25-year old only had three three ball counts and didn’t allow a runner past second base all night long. He threw first pitch strikes to 21 of the 30 batters he faced, generated a season high 22 swings and misses and his Game Score of 87 matched his best performance of the season (also had an 87 against the Cubs).a
I’m going to throw some more ridiculous stats at you before I call it a night on Tanaka. He is now 6-0 with a 2.17 ERA, which is the best start by a Yankees rookie since Whitey Ford went 9-0 in 1950. He also now has 66 strikeouts and only 7 walks, which is the best ratio ever for a pitcher in his first eight major league games.b He also hasn’t lost a regular season start since August 19th, 2012 (my 30th birthday, thank you)–a span of 42 outings. Will he ever lose? At this point, I don’t even know anymore.
Oh, by the way, he also singled off of Jose Valverde in the top of the ninth for his first major league hit. The Yankees have a lot of problems with their rotation right now, but it’s nice to know they can look forward to a likely win at least once every five days.
The offense was pretty good in this game too, scoring single runs in the second, fourth, sixth and seventh innings. The first run scored on a botched play by Eric young, Jr. Yangervis Solarte walked ahead of Brian Roberts, who hit a sinking liner at Young in left. Rather than let it fall in and give rookie pitcher Rafael Montero a chance to pitch to Tanaka with 2 outs, Young inexplicably dove for the ball. It went right by him and all the way to the wall, and Roberts had his first of two triples on the night. Runs two and three scored on solo homers by the Yankees two biggest threats right now, Solarte and Mark Teixeira. Solarte went 1-3 in this game, and is still leading the league in hitting with a .336 mark. Seriously now, it’s been a month and a half and he’s still hitting. Tex’s solo blast was his 8th of the year, and his 7th in the last 14 games. More of this, please. The last run scored on an RBI infield single by Jeter after Gardner had an infield single, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Manufacturing!
That’s it for this game, folks. It was a good one to watch. Up next, the Yankees try to salvage a split of the subway series, and two dudes will be making their major league debuts on the mound. The Yankees have called up Chase Whitley to take CC Sabathia‘s spot as he deals with a knee injury, and the Mets have called up Jacob deGrom to replace the injured Dillon Gee. It’s gonna be fun! I predict either a 1-0 game, or a 12-11 game. Who knows?
Featured image courtesy of: Robert Sabo/New York Daily News
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