Tanaka Inching Towards Dominant Season

It would be an understatement to say that Masahiro Tanaka has had some health issues during his first two seasons with the Yankees.

Masahiro Tanaka delivers a pitch in the second inning.
Tanaka was unhittable for most of his rookie campaign.

After blitzing the American League with an 11-1, 1.99 ERA start in his rookie 2014 campaign, he began to feel a slight discomfort in his elbow.  Just a few starts later, after a shellacking by the Indians, he was on the shelf with a partially torn ulner collateral ligament.  Narrowly avoiding the dreaded Tommy John surgery, Tanaka returned with two less than stellar starts in September of 2014.

In 2015, he got off to a hot start once again, but would end up missing a month of the season with forearm tightness. What once again seemed to be a precursor to the inevitable Tommy John surgery was not, and Tanaka returned to pitch well down the stretch before getting bombed in the Wild Card game.

Entering 2016, Tanaka stated his goal was to make all of his starts, and with just one month remaining on the schedule, he has lived up to that goal.  After his second straight dominant start, and fourth straight win, Tanaka is now 11-4 with a 3.11 ERA.  He has more games of 7+ innings and zero runs allowed than any starter in baseball (five).  With a hot September, Tanaka could put himself into Cy Young contention.

 

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