Tanaka dominates, taking the New York Yankees to the brink of the World Series.
Mashiro Tanaka once again was masterful for the New York Yankees. It seems as if the game becomes more important Tanaka just keeps getting better. The 28-year-old has been one of the best if not the best pitcher in a postseason full of some of the best arms in baseball. With the likes of Yu Darvish, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel still pitching in this postseason it’s safe to argue Tanaka has surprisingly has been the best of all.
Against a team that showed no mercy on opposing pitchers all season, Tanaka was able to throw another gem, throwing seven strong innings, allowing only three hits, no runs and eight strikeouts. Tanaka joins elite company as only the 3rd starter in Yankees postseason history to have two scoreless starts of seven innings pitched or more in the same postseason, joining Roger Clemens (2000) and Whitey Ford (1960). In his last four starts Tanaka has pitched 27+ innings, allowed 13 hits, 31 strikeouts, and 2 runs with a 0.67 era. Yankees fans haven’t witnessed such dominance such as this since the likes of Mariano Rivera.
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In his last four starts Tanaka has pitched 27+ innings, allowed 13 hits, 31 strikeouts, and 2 runs with a 0.67 era. Yankees fans haven’t witnessed such dominance such as this since the likes of Mariano Rivera.
After a comeback win for the ages in Game 4 to save themselves from a 3-1 deficit, the Yankee bats have finally wakened up and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Aaron Judge has returned to MVP form when it’s mattered most. Incredibly when the stakes are at its highest the rookie phenom has been elite. With runners in scoring, position Judge is 7-18 (.389) and 1-21 (0.48) with the bases empty.
Judge’s home run in Game 5 seemed to be the hit that he needed to turn it all around. The lineup has received a jolt as well thanks to the AL MVP candidate as the whole lineup came to the plate in the 8th inning of Game 5 to help the Yankees overcome a 4-0 deficit and tie up the series at 2-2. That 8th inning in Game 5 may be the key to the remainder of the Yankees postseason as they were able to redeem themselves tonight against Astros starter Dallas Keuchel whom in Game 1 completely shut down the Baby Bombers after throwing 7 strong innings with 10 strikeouts.
Tonight was a complete turn around as Yankee hitters clearly made positive adjustments, working the count, fighting off tough pitches and pouncing on any mistake Keuchel made. Two crucial games remain in Houston with a trip to the World Series being one win away.
A second time wasn’t a charm for the All-star lefty as he was pulled from the game after only pitching 4.2 innings, allowing seven hits, and four earned runs. All-star Gary Sanchez saved his first three hits for the biggest moments in the ALCS in Game 5 and 6 as all three hits (a double, home run, and single) were crucial in providing runs that eventually lead to the Yankees obtaining and sustaining a lead that lead to Yankee wins.
Clearly, home field advantage paid dividends for the Baby Bombers as the bats have finally come to life enabling this inexperienced team to go 3-0 at home and uphold the title as the best home team in baseball. With Game 6 Friday night in Houston, Luis Severino will go against Astros ace Justin Verlander, hopefully, the second time is the charm again, a trip to the World Series will be that much sweeter.