After another dazzling performance, Masahiro Tanaka has yet again demonstrated how capable he is of anchoring the mediocre New York Yankees pitching staff.
Tanaka went 7.2 innings of shutout ball while striking out a season-high nine batters while allowing just five hits and no walks against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Yankees’ ace sent down the first 11 Angels’ batters he faced before allowing Mike Trout to break up his no-hit bid in the bottom of the fourth.
“I think my fastball was really good tonight,” Tanaka told Newsday through his translator. “So because of having that good fastball, my secondary pitch, the splitter, was working well.”
He also struck out six batters through five innings of work and left the contest with two runners on and two out in the eighth inning.
Girardi, who rightfully had a short leash, put the ball in the hands of Adam Warren, who sent Trout back to the Halos’ dugout with a backwards ‘K’.
Tanaka, who came in 9-4 with a 3.40 ERA but 2-2 with a 5.55 ERA in the four starts prior to Friday, lowered his season ERA to 3.24 while picking up his tenth victory of a terrific season.
In his latest outing, he gave a tremendous amount of credit to the game calling of Gary Sanchez, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles in the win.
“I think he had a really good idea going into the game of how to call the game, and I think he did a really good job,” Tanaka also told Newsday. “Sometimes I did shake him off, but overall, I think he did an excellent job.”
The duo of Tanaka and Sanchez has the Yankees (62-59) off to a great start on a crucial West coast swing as they attempt to make up ground in a tight American League playoff race.
More importantly, however, his team has yet again soaked in the benefit of having the 27-year old take the hill every fifth day all year notwithstanding his struggles at times.
In games in which Tanaka starts, New York owns a record of 18-7 while leading the team’s rotation in wins (10), ERA (3.24), walks per nine (1.51), an opponent’s batting average of .234, and almost every other pitching category.
For all you WAR fanatics, Tanaka has the highest (3.6) among anyone on the 2016 roster. Additionally, his home runs per nine innings now sits at 0.89 — the lowest of his three-year major league career.
Tanaka can be credited with 29-percent of the Yankees’ 62 wins this season and has brought his A-game despite a partially torn UCL that resides in his $155-million arm.
He also ranks in the top ten among qualified American League pitchers in strikeout to walk ratio, WHIP, and SIERRA, making Tanaka one of the most valuable pitchers in the sport.
Let us also revert back to the Yankees’ 18-7 record when he takes the mound. If any other starter not named Masahiro Tanaka took the hill in his place and managed even a .500 record, the Bombers would be 56-66. Instead of somehow flirting with a playoff spot, they’d be trying to avoid the cellar of the AL East.
While many view the Yankees’ ace as untrustworthy or even a “ticking time bomb,” you cannot deny just how dominant he has been and the impact he has had on the 2016 New York Yankees.
And for those who don’t trust him as the ace of the staff, just ask yourself, “Where would this mediocre staff be without him?”