It’s Tanaka Time in the Bronx!
Apr 16, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Game 1 of today’s Yankees and Chicago Cubs’ double dip can be summed up in one word: Tanaka. Masahiro Tanaka put on his best performance in pinstripes yet. The Yankees’ bats provided enough offense to bring home a win.
Tanaka went out and not only pitched his best game in his short pinstripe career but made some history as well. Tanaka completely baffled the Chicago Cubs offense for eight solid innings in the first half of the doubleheader. He allowed no runs, two hits and just one walk while striking out ten Cubs. That brings his strikeout total to 28 over his first 22 innings since coming over from Japan. He joined Washington Nationals’ young gun Stephen Strasburg as the only two pitchers in the last 100 years to strikeout eight or more batters in each of their first three starts.
Offensively it was more of the same from the Bombers. Carlos Beltran continued his red hot start getting the Yankees on the board with a solo shot in the first inning off of Cubs starter Jason Hammel. Dean Anna chipped in with a sacrifice fly in the 4th and Ellsbury grounded out in the fifth to score Brett Gardner for his fourth RBI of the season. Scott Sizemore made his 2014 debut after his recent call-up. He went hitless on the day but made some nice plays starting at the hot corner.
Shawn Kelley came in and pitched the ninth to register his fourth save on the young season. He has filled in admirably for the injured David Robertson and is showing that the Yankees have a reliable arm in the ‘pen. He allowed one single but struck out Nate Schierholtz to end the game.
The win was the Yankees third victory in a row. They now sit at 8-6 tied atop the AL East with Toronto. The Blue Jays’ game was officially postponed today, so a victory this evening will give the Yanks sole possession of first place. Travis Wood of the Cubs is set to take on Michael Pineda this evening at 7:05 in the nightcap. Pineda is looking for his second win in a row, this one hopefully, dirt-free.