After acquiring Masahiro Tanaka in the free agency pool this offseason for a large sum of money, the Yankees can comfortably say that the Japanese superstar is fulfilling their expectations. Tanaka has started five games for the Pinstripes so far this season, and has managed to strike out forty-six batters while only walking six. No other pitcher has ever accomplished this feat through their first five career starts. Not to mention that he has also accumulated a 2.27 ERA over 35.2 innings (all five starts) and so far has led the Yankees pitching staff with three wins and zero losses. In his two no-decisions, he has been magnificent, striking out ten against the Orioles and a career-high eleven against the Angels. Perhaps one of Tanaka’s most impressive stats so far this season is his opponents’ batting average; he is alone in sixth place in the entire MLB in this category, with batters hitting a measly .205 against him.
Watching Tanaka deal with his extensive repertoire is fascinating. Batters must think about a total of seven different pitches to think about. His most feared pitch so far this season, without a doubt, has been the splitter. Similar to a traditional sinker, Tanaka has found a way to make the pitch one of the nastiest in the MLB. For most batters, Tanaka has been lights-out, bringing a different command style to pitching. Look forward to his next probable start against the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend.
|Tanaka delivering his splitter against the Blue Jays.|