Both have excelled as starting pitchers in the United States – Iwakuma’s 2.66 ERA since joining the Mariners rotation in July 2012 is the best among AL starters and Tanaka’s 2.02 ERA leads the AL this season – and both feature nasty splitters as their primary “out” pitches.
With the two former Rakuten Golden Eagles teammates set to go on back-to-back nights in Seattle, here’s an in-depth look how the two pitchers have dominated hitters with that signature split-fingered fastball.
Stats don’t lie
The results have been nearly identical for both Iwakuma and Tanaka this season when they throw their splitter. Iwakuma has a 23-point advantage in OPS allowed thanks to a few more walks allowed with the pitch by Tanaka, while both are holding batters to nearly identical batting averages and slugging percentages.
|Hisashi Iwakuma vs Masahiro Tanaka Splitter This Season|
They both throw the pitch about 25 percent of the time in all counts and 40 percent of the time when ahead in the count, while Iwakuma leans on his splitter a little bit more in two-strike counts (50% vs 41%).…