Jake Odorizzi looked really good in his first 2 starts of the season. Masahiro Tanaka not so much. Based on recent history, you could guess how this game was going to go last night, but as the old saying goes, that's why they play the game.
Tanaka was masterful last night. Absolutely spectacular. He gave up a base hit to Tampa leadoff hitter David DeJesus to start the bottom of the 1st, then proceeded to sit down the next 15 batters he faced. He didn't walk a batter, he struck out 6 in that stretch, and when he did give up his second and final hit of the night (a double to lead off the bottom of the 6th), he erased it with 2 more strikeouts. He was working his fastball more, throwing it a bit harder than he did in his first 2 starts, and he looked much more like the Tanaka that we saw in the first half of last season.
Of course it took the Yankee offense a while to catch up and support him against Odorizzi. They wasted base hits in the first 2 innings and only picked up 1 more until the top of the 6th, when they finally broke through. A pair of walks and a Brett Gardner stolen base put runners in scoring position, and Brian McCann drove them both home with a triple to right. That's right, a triple. Brian McCann, speed demon.
That 2-run 6th gave Tanaka a little cushion. The 7-run 7th put the game away. Chase Headley led it off with a single that ended Odorizzi's night, and the next 7 batters did this: double, sac fly, single, single, walk, sac fly, HBP. That made it 5-0 and gave Chris Young a chance to do some damage with the bases loaded. You could say he did that when he smoked a Grant Balfour offering to deep left for a grand slam. More innings like that, please.
After that it was a matter of simple mop-up work. David Carpenter took care of the first half of that with a clean 8th inning and Branden Pinder took care of the 9th, albeit with 2 walks and a bases loaded jam he had to escape.
- 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K. That was Tanaka's final line last night. Who knows if it will be enough to calm people down, but it was definitely enough to reaffirm the belief I've always had that he's fine.
- Nice first game back for Gardner, who went 2-4 with a walk, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, and 1 SB. The lineup is so much better with him in there.
- Equally terrible game for the always terrible Gregorio Petit. He was 0-3 and made 2 of the 3 outs in the monster 7th inning. Can we DFA this guy yet?
Nice 3-4 day for Big Mac. Maybe that can get him started on a little hot streak.
- Chris Young has a .690 slugging percentage right now. How about that?