I know it seems like all of my "About Last Night" posts are about Masahiro Tanaka but can you blame me? He's the most reliable starter the Yankees have had in ages. He's incredible, he's crafty and he's resilient. Late in last night's game, after Brian Roberts muffed up a play that allowed James Jones to single, Robinson Cano hit a two-run home run to cut the Yankees' lead from 4-0 to 4-2 and what did Tanaka do? He got both Kyle Seager and Logan Morrison to strikeout. Both of those strikeouts were called and both were on fastballs that were 94 and 95 mph respectively. This kid is the real deal. Tanaka's now 10-1 on the year, has a 2.02 ERA (it was 1.85 before Cano hit the home run), a 0.94 WHIP, and has an astounding 103/14 K/BB through his first 93 2/3 innings as a Yankee. That's right, he's only walked 14 batters all season.
Last night, Tanaka struck out 11 batters - seven of those strikeouts were of the swinging variety - and he walked one batter - Seager in the bottom of the seventh.
Here are the seven swinging strikeouts:
He got Mike Zunino with a fastball over the plate (pitch 4) in the third inning:
Cole Gillespie was a victim of the splitter (pitch 5) in the third inning:
As was Endy Chavez (pitch 3) in the fourth inning:
And Logan Morrison (pitch 5) in the fourth inning:
Brad Miller swung at a splitter and had nothing to show for it but strike three to end the inning:
Hey, you go with what works and Tanaka's splitter was working last night. So was his fastball and his slider.
The one blip, and it was a big blip, was the home run he gave up to Cano in the bottom of the ninth. Here's where that pitch was:
It was a 90 m.p.h fastball over the plate that Cano took deep to left center field. After that, Tanaka got mad and did this to Seager:
And this to Morrison:
While pitch five looks outside, it crossed over the plate for called strike three.
Ballgame over, Yankees win.
Our own Katie Sharp tweeted this after the game: "Two Yankees in the last 100 years started a season with 13 quality starts in a row: Ron Guidry (15 in 1978) and Tanaka."
That's pretty cool company.
[Charts and numbers courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info]