Masahiro Tanaka once again set up a Yankees victory and remained unbeaten whilst playing in MLB with his side’s 3-2 victory over the Angels on Sunday.
Tanaka conceded the two runs off just five hits in his 6 1/3 innings and had four walks with 11 strikeouts. It was the Yankees batting which struggled to match the Japanese’s excellent pitching.
The starting pitcher appears relaxed but fully-focused on the task in hand after his transition from the Japanese leagues at the start of the season.
Jacoby Ellsbury managed to scramble the winning run off a no hit thanks to a go-ahead run. With runners on second and third Nick Maronde threw a wild pitch which hit the dirt and evaded catcher Chris Iannetta which gave Ellsbury the opportunity to score.
However, after scoring three runs from just three hits and one error by the Angels, the Yankees must be thankful to their star pitcher.
Manager Joe Girardi certainly was.
“I think it shows you how he has the ability when he doesn’t have as great command and maybe doesn’t have as great of stuff, he still finds a way to get through innings. And that’s what he did tonight.”
The 25-year-old has settled into life in America much faster than anyone ever expected. A 3-0 record from five games played speaks for itself.
After raising his total strikeouts to the season to 46 with a 0.93 WHIP ratio, the Japanese is already making his claim for signing of the season.
With his hefty price tag, that title is almost demanded of the right-handed pitcher. Tanaka is reported to have signed a seven-year deal worth $155 million.
Although Sunday’s game wasn't his best, he still produced the goods to give the Yankees a 2-1 series victory against the Angels.
With runners at first and second with one out in the third innings, Tanaka escaped to get Howie Kendrick in a 6-4-3 double play.
The 25-year-old continued to get out of sticky situations in the fourth innings.
Erick Aybar was able to get home but with the bases loaded Tanaka struck out Colin Cowgill to leave the rest stranded and control the damage.
“Basically I wasn't trying to give up any runs. In order to do so, sometimes you have to let those pitch counts go up. That's what happened today."
The Yankees will be more than happy to play the dangerous game if their star pitcher can keep producing the goods. They now sit on a respectable 15-10 record for the season whilst the Angels have stalled at 11-13.
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