Tanaka vs. Ohtani.
Advantage: Tanaka. pic.twitter.com/2vXnyi22FJ
— MLB (@MLB) May 27, 2018
It was the matchup that New York Yankee and baseball fans were waiting for, Masahiro Tanaka vs Shohei Ohtani.
We weren’t able to watch New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka and Los Angeles star Shohei Ohtani square off on the mound this weekend. Instead, we got to watch the two square off with Ohtani in the batters’ box.
Ohtani, known as the Japanese Babe Ruth, is currently the only player in baseball who is a two-way player. He’s been pretty successful at both and facing his fellow countryman in Tanaka was pretty fun to watch.
The last time that Tanaka and Ohtani battled against each other, with Ohtani hitting, was in 2013. The numbers clearly went in Tanaka’s favor as Ohtani could not record a hit, striking out six times.
.@t_masahiro18 faced Shohei Ohtani as a batter during his final season in Japan (2013), with Ohtani going 0-for-11 with 6K, 1BB and 1HP.
— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) May 27, 2018
Fast forward to today and the numbers were pretty similar. Ohtani faced Tanaka three times in the Yankees 3-1 victory. In his first at-bat, he struck out. He would then walk in his next at-bat, followed by a strikeout in his final at-bat against Tanaka.
Tanaka would go six innings for the Yanks allowing just one run, striking out eight. He lowered his season’s ERA to 4.38 and won his sixth game of the season. He’s had two of his best starts of the season against the Angels, winning both games going 12 innings, with 17 strikeouts, and allowing just two runs.
The two teams will not go at again in the regular season. However, this could be a potential American League Wild Card game matchup with the Yankees currently sitting in the first wild-card spot, and the Angels just 3.5 games out of the second one.
Until then, the ongoing story of Ohtani vs Tanaka will have to be put on hold. Round one belonged to Tanaka and the Yankees, as they took the season series 5-1 against the Halos.