I kind of wanted to write something about Yangervis Solarte this morning — “He just keeps thrilling us all,” Joe Girardi said — but even after writing Masahiro Tanaka all last night, it’s still awfully hard to ignore the guy who tossed a shutout in his eighth big league start.
There’s a lot to be said about Tanaka’s demeanor and the way he’s handled the attention and the pressure that’s come with his move to Major League Baseball. The kid seems to have his head on straight.
But Tanaka wasn’t brought here for his head. He was brought here for his arm, and that arm seems awfully special.
“After about the third or fourth inning, you could see he got into a better rhythm and pretty aggressive with his pitches,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “You could see toward the end he wanted to finish the game. … Beginning of the games are different some times, but the good pitchers settle in and they’re hard to beat.”
It seems telling that Tanaka’s finest inning last night was the seventh. It was his third turn through the order, and he was facing the Mets’ Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters.
“These guys had seen him twice,” Joe Girardi said. “Now there’s really not a whole lot of surprises on what his repertoire is. You’ve seen how his fastball comes out, and his slider and his split.”
Tanaka got David Wright to strikeout swinging at a slider. He got Curtis Granderson looking at a curveball. And he got Chris Young swinging at a 93-mph fastball.
“What he does is impressive,” Rothschild said. “It’s impressive because he commands three and four pitches. If you ever talk about a smart pitcher, you can bet that they’re throwing three and four pitches for strikes. That’s what he does.”
Nine innings. Eight strikeouts. No walks. No runs. It was yet another indication of just how good this guy can be.
“Obviously I have good days and bad days,” Tanaka said. “But overall, (last night) I think was my most complete outing.”
Associated Press photo