Today’s game in Tampa was about the pitchers as three of the Yankees five starters made appearances. CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Masahiro Tanaka each threw two shutout innings and helped the Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-0.
Sabathia, who started the game for the Yankees, gave up 2 hits, 1 strikeout, and no walks in his 2 inning outing, but the questions about his velocity will continue, as he barely managed to top 87 MPH with his fastball. Though his lack of pitches above 90 MPH will worry some people, Sabathia has continuously used Andy Pettitte as an example of a pitcher who has been able to succeed without a great fastball. He may just have to use his off-speed pitches more than in previous years.
When Sabathia left the game before the third inning, Hiroki Kuroda dominated the Phillies striking out 2 batters and giving up 1 hit during the third and fourth innings while using his splitter to keep batters off balance. He looked like the Kuroda we saw in the first half of 2013.
Though Kuroda and Sabathia were great, the reason most people watched todays game was to witness the debut of Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka, who didn’t disappoint. In 2 innings pitched, he struck out three Phillies (two of which came in the sixth inning) while mixing his fastball with his off-speed pitches effectively. His fastball touched 94-95 while consistently remaining in the low-90’s. His splitter was as unhittable as advertised, though his command of his other off-speed pitches was a bit spotty at times.
Delin Betances and Cesar Cabral combined to pitch three innings and close out the game for the Yankees
All-in-all, a good day in Tampa.