Wednesday afternoon has featured some fantastic pitching, and Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees was among those who were able to dominate the competition. Just as Johnny Cueto did in blanking the Pittsburgh Pirates at approximately the same time, Tanaka was in full command during a shutdown performance, and his showing led the Yankees to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
The 25-year-old “rookie” navigated eight innings of shutout ball using only 107 pitches, and when he was finished, Tanaka had only allowed two hits and one walk while striking out (and baffling) 10 Cubs hitters. This was the first taste of true dominance for the highly billed right-hander, and although he had pitched effectively in each of his first two starts with the Yankees, this was certainly a new level of performance.
In fairness, the Chicago offense is one of the weaker units in the Major Leagues, with only Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro serving as notably above-average options in Wednesday’s lineup. Still, Tanaka was everything he was billed to be on Wednesday, and Carlos Beltran’s 1st-inning solo home run proved to be more than enough to provide New York with a win to improve their record to 8-6 on the young season.
Masahiro Tanaka has a lot of work to do to fully earn his massive, nine-figure contract, but if this is any indication of his ceiling, Yankees fans will be quite pleased.