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Tanaka unfazed heading into Fenway debut

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Apr 21, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Masahiro TanakaSince coming to the Yankees from Japan, Masahiro Tanaka has routinely appeared to be underwhelmed by this surroundings. He hasn’t been bothered by the constant media attention, he seemed to easily transition through his first American spring training, and his early regular-season results have been unusual only in their dominance. Tanaka has arrived as a fully prepared big league pitcher, so why should a rivalry shake him?

Tomorrow night, Tanaka will make his first career start against the Red Sox.

“Through the television screen monitor back in Japan, I’ve seen the two teams play and I understand there is a certain rivalry between the two teams going into the game,” Tanaka said. “I’m sure the fans will be heated up a bit, and it should be a good experience going up on the mound that day and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

Nervous? Uncertain? Concerned? No, Tanaka spoke about Tuesday’s start with the same dry expression he’s shown since spring training. He even said that watching the Red Sox games in the Bronx last weekend didn’t do much for him.

“Didn’t feel too much when they came to Yankee Stadium,” he said.

This seems to be Tanaka’s personality. He’s unaffected by all of the noise that surrounds him, and takes a very matter-of-fact approach to his job. Asked about facing David Ortiz, Tanaka said he considers him a good hitter, but didn’t say much more. Asked about dealing with the Green Monster, Tanaka said he thinks it’s probably best to get a bunch of ground balls. No added dramatics, just the facts.

Did his Japanese team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, have a rivalry similar to Yankees-Red Sox?

“Probably the (Yomiuri) Giants and the Hanshin Tigers, the big rivalry in Japan,” Tanaka said. “But for the Eagles, I don’t think so.”

Just one more thing in his life that’s different this year, and nothing else seems to have been a big deal.

“So far he’s shown that,” manager Joe Girardi said. “There hasn’t been anything that’s said he’s going to be more anxious for this start than any other start, so I’d expect him to have the same personality.”

Associated Press photo

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30 Responses to “Tanaka unfazed heading into Fenway debut”

  1. PhiltheThrill April 21st, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Here comes Tanaka-Mania.

  2. exiledintampa April 21st, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    The Bronx Sho-Gun.

  3. Madrugador April 21st, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Two good pitchers going up against each other. Should be a good low scoring game. Play Ball!

  4. pete2 April 21st, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Red Sox have been among the worst teams in the AL against RHP’ers and the Yankees one of the best hitting teams against LHP’ers. Should be a good matchup.

    I am predicting Tanaka-san goes 8 IP with 16 K’s for a 1-0 win. Robertson gets the save.

    Since the Red Sox passed on Tanaka they have lost Dempster and Buchholz and Lackey have been awful, negotiations with Lester have broken down. Peavy is a free agent after this year and Doubront has not been very good. They might regret sitting on the sidelines after tomorrow night

  5. mick April 21st, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    I have said for the past few years that the RS are on the verge of a breakdown.
    I didn’t expect chicken and beer but my prediction seemed to be coming true till last year which many consider to be a fluke.
    Lackey had close to a career season. Victorino and Ellsbury were their usual pesty selves.
    Pedroia and Ortiz were the heart of the team as usual.
    Lester never was a lockdown Ace but if they lose him , it will be a tremendous blow.
    It’s a long season but signs seem to be pointing toward their demise.
    Last year was an emotional one for them but there’s a good chance there will be a letdown.
    Losing Ellsbury is an obvious blow and Drew was very valuable.
    Now they are depending too much on rookies to replace them.

  6. DaSaint007 April 21st, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Everything went well for boston last year. Several players overachieved. Losing Ellsbury and Drew (the former more than the latter) were significant, and the failure to add or reload during the offseason could be construed as a degree of arrogance.

    It was a hell of a gamble, and thus far, it’s not paying off.

  7. mick April 21st, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    worst to first to worst?

  8. pete2 April 21st, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Red Sox had so much going right for them last year. BABIP highest of any team since 1930, lack of significant injuries to position players, career years, bounce back years, hungry players playing for a contract, extension, option year pick up or incentives built into contracts. It was the perfect storm. Of the 7 free agents they signed not one was a bust, and most exceeded projections. Ortiz had the 5th greatest OPS+ of any 37 yo since before 1920.

    They have downgraded at the 3 most important positions (CF, SS, C) and should expect regression from Ortiz, Victorino, Lackey, Uehara, etc. Napoli and Pedroia are hampered with injuries and Victorino and Middlebrooks are on the DL

    As for their pitching prospects, that’s a lot of hype. Barnes is their best one and he was down for most of ST with a bad shoulder. The others, except perhaps Owens, are hardly a sure thing, and Owens won’t help this year.

    However, they are still a good team and are well positioned financially and prospect wise to make a big deal to bolster the team. They won’t win 97 games but they could break 90. Best to take advantage of them while they struggle and take at least 2 of 3. CC unfortunately will get killed at Fenway since the Red Sox are still one of the best hitting teams against LHP’ers and have always given CC trouble even when he was good.

  9. mick April 21st, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    CC unfortunately will get killed at Fenway since the Red Sox are still one of the best hitting teams against LHP’ers and have always given CC trouble even when he was good.
    =============================
    It won’t happen but Kuroda will be on his regular turn Thursday. Yanks home Friday.

  10. pete2 April 21st, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    mick April 21st, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    CC unfortunately will get killed at Fenway since the Red Sox are still one of the best hitting teams against LHP’ers and have always given CC trouble even when he was good.
    =============================
    It won’t happen but Kuroda will be on his regular turn Thursday. Yanks home Friday

    =================

    Good news if Joe is skipping over CC in favor of Kuroda. Never thought he would do that. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. LOL

  11. pete2 April 21st, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Of course, the Angels are even better against LHP’ers with a 791 OPS (2nd in AL) so…..

  12. mick April 21st, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    The Yanks have depth on the mound but come September , who knows?
    Wasn’t the plan to skip starts here and there for CC, Kuroda and Tanaka?
    Pineda was on an innings limit of about 150, wasn’t he?

  13. Hankflorida April 21st, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Actually, I think the Yankees will hit 170+ HR which is more than the Red Sox hit last year. If you recall, what hurt the Cardinlas most in the post season was a lack of HR whereas the Red Sox had key HR with ROB. I think Cashman went with what was available rather than with a master plan to change approach

    Pete, you may be right that Cashman had no master plan, but it seems that the cap did influence his plan to get rid of the more expensive power hitters, and even the fact that two of the power hitters, Soriano and Beltran, are of the age where they come cheaper on a short term basis. I used the term DIS-MANTLE using Mickey Mantle as a symbol of the Bronx Bombers, and what could be the opposite of having Mantle and Maris then a blueprint of Ichiro and Gardner playing together as a plan before the season began last year. Adding Ellsbury and losing Cano is a further nail in the coffin of the Bronx Bombers. I am not saying that Cashman is wrong in changing the logo of the team especially in this computerized age and the science of shifts, and even though it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, I am open to this change and want to see these modern Willie Keelers “hit em where they ain’t” with RISP. In other words, let Cashman defeat the new technology of defense with an his “New Age” offense!

  14. MTU April 21st, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    No matter what happens Tanaka will keep learning and adjusting.

    His best is more than a match for any Team.

    ;)

  15. exiledintampa April 21st, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Jerry Beach?@defiantlydutch·1m
    The Mets just promoted Nolan Ryan Bobblehead night on 5/10. Once you get it, you can trade it to an Angels fan & watch its value skyrocket.

  16. MTU April 21st, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Very exciting and intriguing to have MT and MP facing the Sux.

  17. austinmac April 21st, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Cliff Lee has given up 40 hits in 17 innings. That is something to keep an eye on.

  18. austinmac April 21st, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    40 hits in 27 innings–correction

  19. igotid88 April 21st, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    mick April 21st, 2014 at 8:57 pm
    The Yanks have depth on the mound but come September , who knows?
    Wasn’t the plan to skip starts here and there for CC, Kuroda and Tanaka?
    Pineda was on an innings limit of about 150, wasn’t he?
    —————

    I think they’re saying Pineda is not on an innings limit. At least publicly.

  20. MTU April 21st, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Pineda is definitely on an innings limit.

  21. igotid88 April 21st, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    MTU April 21st, 2014 at 9:23 pm
    Pineda is definitely on an innings limit.
    ————

    Yea, but they’re not saying.

  22. MTU April 21st, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    IGI-

    So what ?

    Everyone knows it.

    Pineda threw 170 innings 2 years ago.

    He’s the # 5 guy.

    They only need to toss about 150.

  23. Howler April 21st, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    We’ll see how long he sticks as the #5 guy if he keeps pitching like he does considering recent events.

  24. MTU April 21st, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    I wish you all sweet dreams.

    And the warmth of the Sun in the morning.

    A gentle breeze blowing thru your life.

    And the hand of God on your shoulder.

    Night.

    :)

  25. Howler April 21st, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Just dropping by myself…need to take care of a few things. Have a good night MTU

  26. MTU April 21st, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Howler-

    IF the Yankees are smart they will not overtax him.

    ;)

  27. Melkmanisinhotlanta April 21st, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    “I don’t know if he’ll be in the conversation, but we’ll sit down and talk about it.”

    Girardi about the possibility of Aceves pitching for the team.

    ———————————————————————————————————-

    Girardi doesn’t know if Aceves will be in the conversation but he will talk about it. What a dunce.

  28. Melkmanisinhotlanta April 21st, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    CC is going to have to join Phil Hughes in Minnesoda if he doesn’t find a way against Red Sox nation. One suggestion: a case of Capn Krunch!

  29. blake April 21st, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Little Dante is OPSing 1.011 through 16 games at Tampa…..Id think they wouldn’t keep he and Jag on the same team for long

  30. Barry April 22nd, 2014 at 12:59 am

    Girardi is no dunce. He is telling you — the public–that this is not a conversation he will have
    in this context. None of anyone’s business until Girardi says that is.

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