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Yankees Hot Corner – Yankee fans don’t appreciate Masahiro Tanaka enough

Masahiro Tanaka has been one of the premier pitchers in baseball while with the Yankees, even if he hasn’t been recognized as one.  He has some inconsistencies every season but nights like Monday are the reason why he should be treasured as the Yankee’s ace.  Luis Severino had a fantastic season but Masahiro Tanaka still deserves the title of “ace”.

If you look at Tanaka’s career statistics, he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for how consistent he’s been throughout his career and how well he has performed in the postseason.  Since his first season with the Yankees in 2014, Tanaka has never had less than 12 wins and only one season with an ERA over 3.75.

His career stats of 69-39 with a 3.56 ERA aren’t eye popping but they are an indication that Tanaka is a winner, no matter the struggles he’s gone through in his career.  He’s been everything the Yankees have wanted and more, especially in the postseason.  His attitude of always wanting more and never being satisfied endears him to New Yorkers.

Tanaka, when his career is over, should be remembered not only by his regular season success but his clutch performances in the playoffs.  His 3-2 record isn’t impeccable but he’s pitched to a 1.50 ERA, less than half his season average.  The only real blemish is his 2015 American League Wild Card performance, where the Yankees wound up losing 2-0 and where he got zero run support after giving up two solo home runs.

Tanaka has always been money in the bank in big games.  Monday night’s two hit shutout is just another example of what Tanaka means to the Yankees’ rotation.  He is the heart and soul of the pitching staff and without him the Yankees wouldn’t be where they are today.

Yankee fans need to understand that since Tanaka came over in 2014 from Japan, he’s as advertised.  A lot of fans may get on him for his high rate of home runs given up or his inconsistent performances, but to have an ace on the Yankees staff that can give you multiple outings of stellar pitching is a rare commodity.  Masahiro Tanaka is a gamer and should be treated with more appreciation than he gets.  A little more praise goes a long way, especially for a pitcher so hard on himself.

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