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Masahiro Tanaka Shows Yankees Why he is Ace of the Rotation

Opponents are batting just .219 against Tanaka this season

Masahiro Tanaka (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Masahiro Tanaka (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)


On Saturday afternoon in Toronto, Masahiro Tanaka showed the New York Yankees and their fans why he is the ace of their pitching rotation.

Tanaka took the mound on Saturday following a huge 4-3 Yankees win Friday night that moved the Bombers back into first and snapped an 11-game win streak for the Toronto Blue Jays. In Fridays win, the Yankees used Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the third day in a row.

Miller had an epic battle with newly acquired Blue Jay Troy Tulowitzki, who he struck out in a 12 pitch at bat with four meetings between Miller and Yankees catcher Brian McCann. Miller threw 26 pitches in the save and Yankee Manager Joe Girardi was unsure of the status of Miller, and Betances coming into Saturday’s matinee. It wouldn’t matter.

Tanaka took the Jays lineup by storm throwing a complete-game five hitter, allowing one run, walking three and striking out eight. Tanaka asserted his pitches on the inner and outer halves of the plate and threw his first complete game in over a year.

Tanaka was very economical and consistent in the win as well throwing 112 pitches, his second highest this season and doing exactly what the Yankees needed him to do, as he was able to give the bullpen a day off. Tanaka was also consistent with velocity reaching the mid-ninety’s on his fastball, including a 94 mile per hour heater on his 95th pitch of the day.

Tanaka held the top-scoring offense in baseball to a team 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. The Yankee ace showed his maturity as well in the sixth inning as the Blue Jays loaded the bases with no out following a walk, single and walk. Tanaka gave up one run, a sacrifice fly to Blue Jay third baseman Josh Donaldson, but struck out Jose Bautista, and got Edwin Encarnacion to pop to second to end the threat.

The outing by Tanaka gives the Yankees and their fans a lot to look forward to the rest of the season. The ace of a team is supposed to do exactly what Tanaka did on Saturday, and the Yankees who have won three straight, have a game and a half lead on the Jays, a team that won 11 straight games before losing to the Yankees back to back days, atop the American League East.

After today’s complete game effort, opponents are batting just .219 against Tanaka this season.

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