About Last Night: Masahiro Tanaka

As Brad said in his recap of last night's game, Masahiro Tanaka's first two starts were not great. Tanaka needed to have a good performance against the Rays in Tampa, 1) to quiet the whispers abut his elbow, and 2) to keep the Yankees on a bit of a roll. Thankfully, he succeeded. He looked like the Tanaka of the first half of 2014, seemingly having no issues with the Rays' lineup whatsoever. He lasted seven innings, gave up only two hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out eight. He also lowered his season ERA from 7.00 to 3.94 with last night's outing.

According to Brooks Baseball PITCH f/x, Tanaka favorited his four seam fastball - throwing 28 of them. He also reached nearly 94 m.p.h. (93.9) with that pitch while averaging 91.7.

Here's what his velocity overall looked like last night:

Courtesy of Brooks Baseball

As you can see, the last pitch of his outing was one of the fastest he threw on the night.

Here's the rest of the breakdown of his pitches:

  • He threw 12 sinkers, averaged 91.0 m.p.h. and hit a max velocity of 92.7.
  • He threw 14 sliders, averaged 84.0 m.p.h. and hit a max velocity of 88.9.
  • He threw 10 curveballs, averaged 75.5 m.p.h. and hit a max velocity of 76.8.
  • He threw 5 cutters, averaged 88.8 m.p.h. and hit a max velocity of 89.6.
  • He threw 16 splitters, averaged 87.1 m.p.h. and hit a max velocity of 88.8.

Tanaka gave up a single on an 86 m.p.h splitter to David DeJesus in the bottom of the 1st. It was the third pitch of the of the game for Tanaka. DeJesus reached down and was able to get the bat on it.

Courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info

The second hit Tanaka gave up didn't occur until the bottom of the 6th. This time, Brandon Guyer made contact with a 90 m.p.h. fastball and laced it into left field for a double.

Courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info

Here's what Tanaka's strike outs look like in heat map form: Courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info

When isolated by velocity, none of Tanaka's pitches from 91-93 m.p.h. were put in play. Courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info

After the game, Tanaka, once again, explained to reporters that it's all about building arm strength. He doesn't seem to be worried about how's progressing this season and after last night's strong performance, we probably shouldn't be either.

[Heat maps and grids courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info; PITCH f/x data courtesy of Brooks Baseball]