Yankees best choices for assembling a playoff pitching rotation
Wild Card Game
Masahiro Tanaka should start against the Athletics.
Yes, technically, Luis Severino is the ace of the staff but is not pitching as well as he did last year. Don’t get me wrong, Severino is still pitching well this year, just not Cy Young candidate level. But let’s return to Tanaka.
Don’t get me wrong, on any given day, Severino is still the best pitcher the Yankees have, just not a Cy Young candidate this time around. But let’s return to Tanaka.
Back from injury and pitching consistently well thus far, Tanaka will take the mound against either the Red Sox or the Athletics. But he’s been horrible against the Sox this season.
In three games, Tanaka has given up five home runs while Boston batters have hit .328 against him. On top of that, Tanaka sports a 6.60 ERA to go along with a 1.733 WHIP.
All of these numbers are considerably worse than his season stats. But Tanaka has not pitched against the Athletics at all this season — leaving some uncertainty in this decision to have Tanaka start the Wild Card Game.
However, Tanaka has faced about half the Athletics’ batters in his career, including 12 at-bats against the mighty Khris Davis.
Davis, who has hit 40+ home runs in each of his last three seasons, already has 42 homers this season. But when facing Tanaka, Davis is 1-for-12 with a single and seven strikeouts.
Tanaka also pitches equally well against both left-handed batters and right-handed, which is useful when facing a team such as the A’s, who have a few left-handed bats. This could also force the Athletics to play some of their not so good left-handed sticks in hopes of a lefty/righty matchup.