Masahiro Tanaka’s first complete game while pitching with the Yankees helped them beat the New York Mets 4-0 on Wednesday night and end their four-game losing streak. Tanaka, who is basically the only reliable starter in the Yankees rotation right now as a result of 60 percent of the Opening Day rotation being on the disabled list, allowed four hits, eight strikeouts and did not walk a single batter.
Tanaka now has a remarkable 66 strikeouts to only seven walks on the season. That is an outstanding 9.43 strikeout to walk ratio, which also happens to be the best ratio for a pitchers first eight games in MLB history. Tanaka improved to 6-0 on the season, and after going 24-0 last season in Japan, he has not lost a regular season game since August of 2012.
After Wednesday’s dominating start, Tanaka is tied for third in the American League with his 2.17 ERA, is tied for second in the AL with six wins, is tied for second with 66 strikeouts and he has the best WHIP in the AL. This is even more impressive because he has only made eight starts against Major League hitters, which proves that he has been able to adjust without any issues.
“I felt pretty good overall,” Tanaka said. “I think I was able to get strikes early on and get batters out early on the count, which led me to go nine innings today. I just go up there and basically try to win every single game, that is basically what I am doing. I have good days and bad days, but overall, I think today was my best day.”
Brian McCann, who caught Tanaka’s complete game gem, was not surprised at all. “I am not surprised at anything that he is able to do,” McCann said. He is a competitor, competes on a daily basis and like I said he has been doing that since day one in spring training. He threw a complete game. He has had the stuff to do this pretty much every time out.”
The Yankees had balanced offensive production off of Rafeal Montero, Carlos Torres and Jose Valverde. Brett Gardner and Brian Roberts led the team with two hits and Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Yangervis Solarte and Roberts all drove in a run.
Solarte, the rookie who had previously played eight seasons in the minors in the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers organizations, has been hitting so well recently that he deserves to move up a spot in the lineup. He has hit surprisingly well all season, but in his last eight games has been on a tear. Going back to the game on May 6, Solarte has 14 hits in 29 at-bats (.483), nine runs scored, three homers, and nine RBIs.
He has come out of nowhere to lead the league in average and only be behind Shin-Soo Choo and Jose Bautista in on-base percentage in the middle of May.
The Yankees will have Chase Whitley make his Major League debut on Thursday at Citi Field. He will be starting as a result of CC Sabathia’s stint on the disabled list. Whitley, who has pitched with the Yankees Triple-A affiliate in Scranton since 2012, has a 2.39 ERA and 32 strikeouts in six starts this season for the Rail Riders.
With a win the Yankees will split the season series with the Mets since they lost both games that they played at Yankee Stadium earlier this week.