In a Losing Effort, Tanaka Pitched a Gem • Latino Sports

Baseball

In a Losing Effort, Tanaka Pitched a Gem

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Bronx, NY – Masahiro Tanaka had the slider and command of every pitch at Yankee Stadium Friday night. The Oakland Athletics had difficulty getting to the Yankees righthander and when he left game after striking out a career best 13 after 7.1 innings the game was handed to the bullpen.

The command led to no walks and this was the ninth game in Yankees history when a pitcher struck out 13 and failed to surrender a base on balls. This was the Tanaka the Yankees expect when he takes the mound.

After his last start Saturday at Tampa Bay. allowing six runs in 3.0 innings, this was a welcome reprieve for manager Joe Girardi. And it was 111 pitches that would not grant Tanaka to stay in the game, so instead he got the loss as Oakland scored four runs in the eighth and ninth innings that held up for a 4-1 win.

“Swings and misses, his stuff was there,” said Girardi. “Being consistent,” Girardi also referred to how pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Tanaka worked on the mechanics in between starts. Tanaka had multiple strikeouts in each of the first four innings, and again in the sixth. He also struck out the leadoff hitter in seven of eight innings.

It was Tanaka’s night, but the Yankees could not generate a significant rally against Oakland A’s lefthander Sean Manaea who earned his third win of the season and tossed 7.0 scoreless innings.

“I had a different mentality in my head that these guys were not going to hit me at all and believed in myself to trust everything,” said Manaea. The lefthander had his first scoreless start of the season and first since last September against Houston.

His 7.0 innings also marked a season high and is 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees.

Didi Gregorius drove in the lone run for the Yankees with a sac fly in the ninth inning to avoid the shutout. But when Tanaka left the game, a reliable Yankees bullpen and third in the league was not able to assure that Tanaka would get his sixth win of the season. Tyler Clippard and Jonathan Holder combined for the four runs that snapped a 17.0 inning scoreless streak by Yankees pitchers.

Said Girardi about Tanaka, “When he was struggling I still had confidence in him.” And about the lack of runs this night that were not able to help Tanaka, the manager said, “We’re not going to score a lot of runs every game but we will.”

Not on this night, and a game that Masahiro Tanaka will look to have again the Yankees got a loss. But the overall optimism is how Tanaka rebounded and any questions about being inconsistent for the moment have been answered.

About Rich Mancuso

Established sports journalist and educator. Contact Rich at [email protected]

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