We live in an instant gratification society. We want the latest gadget, the latest song, the latest celebrity news (sup Bieber?) right now. The thing about baseball, is that it’s the least instant sport of it all. It’s a 162-game marathon of ups and downs and highs and lows. For Masahiro Tanaka, he’s coming to a brand new country, facing hitters he hasn’t faced and adjusting to a new routine and even a new baseball. If he struggles early, don’t panic Yankee fans.
Let’s take a look at other notable Japanese pitchers first seasons:
Hideo Nomo in the first half of 1995 went 6-1 with a 1.99 ERA, however, in May, his first month, he went 0-1 with a 3.82 ERA, his highest ERA for any month. Yu Darvish in 2012 had a great start and end to the season. The middle? Not so much. His ERA from May through August was a whopping 4.90.
Tanaka’s new teammate, Hiroki Kuroda had his issues as well. Kuroda in June and July of his first season had a 6.39 ERA. Daisuke Matsuzaka had one month in his debut season where his ERA was below 3.00. In fact, if you take that one month away, he went 13-10, which is okay, and a 4.97 ERA.
Look, Tanaka isn’t going to go 24-0 this year. He’s going to have his bad outings and lose every so often. He’s going to go through a learning curve just like everyone else does. The point is not to panic if he does. That’s baseball, and Tanaka will have a lot to adjust to this season.