New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka says he confident coming out of the bullpen, could be a playoff scenario.
The New York Yankees are heading into their opening playoff series against the Minnesota Twins, as both postseason teams will begin their awaited best-of-five stint this Friday in the Bronx. This is when it all matters and comes together, and the Bombers may have a certain trick up their sleeve.
It’s a possibility that the Yanks could go with openers on the mound during the series. This would mean primarily starting pitchers, such as right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, would come out of the bullpen. New York tried this in their final regular-season game this past weekend with Tanaka. Ultimately, the veteran said he wouldn’t mind coming out of the pen in the postseason.
“I’d be absolutely confident going into a game like that,” Tanaka said through an interpreter on Sunday, per Bryan Hoch of mlb.com. “Obviously having gone through today and getting the experience doing this today is going to help me. I feel OK going into the game like that.”
It was the first time Tanaka came out of the bullpen in his career. He threw 3.0 innings, allowing five hits and two runs (one earned) in a 6-1 loss to the Texas Rangers. He struck out two batters and walked one. In 32 appearances this season (31 starts), the 30-year-old posted a record of 11-9 with an ERA of 4.45 and a WHIP of 1.242.
It’s still unclear who the starting pitcher (or opener) will be for the Yankees when Game 1 rolls around. First pitch will be this Friday at 7:07 p.m. ET.