Anyone who watched even two minutes of Masahiro Tanaka Saturday saw how devastating of a pitcher he could turn out to be. He showcased his fastball which reached 93-94 while nailing his spots with the pitch. According to his scouting report, his fastball should reach about 91-92 so Tanaka was able to reach for a little extra in his first appearance.
He also threw his curve ball a few times which had pretty good movement on it. However, nothing compared to his devastating splitter which he was able to pick up a couple of strikeouts with. The ball literally takes a nose dive half way to home plate. It was phenomenal.
The right hander will get another shot to impress. Manager Joe Girardi announced on Sunday morning that Tanaka will make his first start on Thursday. He will likely pitch about three innings.
The Yankees play the Phillies ate 1 p.m. ET on Thursday so it will be the second time the 25 year-old will get a glimpse of them. As of now, the game is not expected to be on television but with word breaking that Tanaka will be making the start, MLB Network will most likely air the game or at least the first few innings.
Girardi laid out his rotation for the week. Today, Ivan Nova will make his first start against the Nationals. The following day will see David Phelps toe the rubber against the Orioles. On Wednesday, Adam Warren will get the nod.
The most anticipated start of the week will of course be Tanaka on Thursday. Finally, Michael Pineda, which many people are excited to see as well, and Hiroki Kuroda will pitch against the Tigers on Friday.
All the hype has been surrounding the Japanese pitcher since the minute he arrived at Yankees camp. Being the most prized pitcher to make the transition to Major League Baseball comes with a lot of coverage. Tanaka has been unfazed by all of it. He’s a rock when it comes to the media frenzy which is why he is such a perfect fit in New York.