Is there anyone anywhere that doubts the importance of Masahiro Tanaka as part of the Yankees’ rotation? Tonight, he threw a shut-out, his first MLB complete game, and got hit first MLB hit. Yes, it was Tanaka’s game in Queens.
Honestly, it is always a joy to watch Tanaka pitch, reminiscent of players my grandfather might have seen, some now Hall-of-Famers, the legends. But tonight, his stuff was really, really good. 114 pitches, a full 9 innings, giving up just 4 hits, and getting 8 Mets batters to strikeout. He never pitched to more than 4 batters each inning, and even the Mets manager got on the Tanaka bandwagon. He even got his first major league hit, a nice single straight up the middle in the 9th inning. They were quick to save that ball for him.
And to back him up, the Yankees defense and offense were on point tonight. Defensively, they were there to catch the long balls that would have been home runs in Yankee Stadium, but fell a few feet short of the wall in Citi Field; they were there to force outs and keep the Mets from reaching further than 2nd base. And then they showed up to hit, 8 total hits actually.
With Yangervis Solarte on base with a 2-out walk in the 2nd, Brian Roberts’ nice triple easily scored Solarte for the Yankees. (Roberts would hit his second triple of the night in the 4th inning; yes, 2 triples in one game for Roberts.) Then in the 4th inning, Solarte hit a solo home run, his 4th of his rookie season so far. And in the 6th, it’s Mark Teixeira again for his 8th home run of the season. And then in the 7th, with 2 outs, Brett Gardner singled, stole 2nd, then stole 3rd, and then scored on Derek Jeter’s single. And that totaled the Yankees’ runs for the evening in what would end up a 4-0 shut-out win.
Can we just already award Tanaka and Solarte as co-AL Rookies of the Year? Even other teams are raving about these two. Okay, I realize there’s 123 games left to play, Tanaka has yet to get his first loss, and Solarte won’t always be on a hot streak. But then again, who’s to say that this isn’t just the start of something amazing, a new dynasty even, Hall-of-Fame careers. I’d like to think so, but then again, I always prefer to be positive.
CC Sabathia was seen by a doctor that confirmed a diagnosis in his knee — the cartilage in his knee is deteriorating. They will work on rehabbing it with special injections and treatments to help rebuild the cartilage. Apparently, this treatment has been used on current and former Yankees successfully, including Beltran and Matsui.
A win is always great, and tonight was a great game. And it’s all because of those two amazing rookies no one can stop talking about.