Tanaka Not Quite As Effective As A Hitter


May 9, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; New York Yankees pitcher

Masahiro Tanaka

(19) reacts after striking out in the first inning in his first major league at bat during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka in the off-season to bolster their pitching rotation. He has done that and more so far. A 5-0 record has held the Yankees together after the rest of the rotation has seemed to unravel somewhat. However, on Friday in Milwaukee, Tanaka was asked to do something he did not expect to do since coming to America and signing with the Yankees–hit! Since the interleague match-up was played at a National League team’s ballpark, Miller Park in Milwaukee, the pitchers had to hit, no designated hitters.

This meant that Masahiro Tanaka would get a chance to hit for the first time in his young Major League career. Tanaka was able to hit three times in his first at-bats of his Major League career. The only problem was he did not hit anything. Tanaka struck out three times, but the Yankees are not paying him all that money to have a high batting average. They would rather have Tanaka have a higher win percentage on the mound than batting average. Tanaka’s swings were actually not that bad. Most Japanese players growing up are solid at more than one position.

Tanaka might have struggled in the batters box, but he was flawless on the mound. Tanaka went 6 1/3 innings and allowed 7 hits and 2 runs while striking out 7. His hot start continues and now the question is how long can he keep this up? Will he ever lose? Of course he will, but hopefully for the Yankees, his “stuff” holds up, because they need it to, especially with all the problems they have had with their pitching this season.