(Ooooooh, trippy. Courtesy of the AP)
However you felt about the Yankees' 1-2 showing in their season-opening series against Houston should have been immediately washed over by a tidal wave of excitement about last night's game. If it wasn't, you need to reevaluate your fandom. Last night was the moment we've all been waiting for since late January, our first chance to see the $155 million man in action. Masahiro Tanaka made his MLB regular season debut last night in Toronto, and it was everything we hoped for.
- Well, except for the first batter of the 1st inning. Melky Cabrera led off the game for Toronto with a solo HR on a hanging splitter, but Tanaka sat down the next 3 in order to limit the damage to 1 run.
- He got into trouble again in the 2nd thanks to some ridiculously bad BIP luck on a slew of groundballs and a Mark Teixeira throwing error, giving up 2 more runs and giving away the lead. After a brief injury delay for Teix (more on that later), Tanaka regrouped to strike out the final 2 batters of the inning.
- While these early problems were going on, the offense was doing its part to support Tanaka. 4 of the first 5 Yankee hitters got hits, including RBI singles by Teix and Carlos Beltran, and they tacked on additional runs in the 3rd (Yangervis Solarte RBI double) and 4th (Brian McCann RBI single).
- Tanaka shook off the rough start to the game and went into absolute shutdown mode after the 2nd. He allowed just 2 more baserunners through the 7th, neither of which advanced passed second base, and got plenty of weak GB outs. He was dealing.
- As Tanaka gave way to the Yankee 'pen, the lineup put up 2 more insurance runs in the 8th and 9th innings. Matt Thornton, Dellin Betances (kinda), and D-Rob combined to finish the final 2 frames and get the Yanks back to .500.
- Tanaka: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 8 K. It would have been hard to ask for much more from Tanaka in his first start. He battled through the first 2 innings, limited damage in each of them, and then found his groove and dominated the Blue Jay lineup. He was mixing pitches well, throwing a lot of early strikes to get ahead, and he kept the ball down to get swings and misses and GB outs when he needed them. It was a terrific performance.
- Solarte: 2-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 4 LOB. Started the game at second base, moved to third after Teix left, and kept right on hitting with a 2-double day.
- Jacoby Ellsbury: 3-4, 2 2B, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 SB, 1 LOB. Big game for Ellsbury after a sluggish start in Houston. He looked strong at the plate, quick on the basepaths, and he made a nice sliding catch in left-center field to help out Tanaka. Exactly the type of all-around excellence the Yankees envisioned when they signed him.
- Betances: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB. This was the bad Betances that always rears his ugly head. He didn't have command on anything last night. Threw 13 pitches and only 3 for strikes. Good on Joe for having the quick hook.
- Teix's Hamstring: In the middle of the lucky GB barrage in the 2nd, Teix ranged to his left to field a grounder that was ruled foul and came up funny after snaring the ball. He immediately grabbed at the back of his right hammy and took a few strange steps to shake it out. This brought out Joe and the trainer and Teix left the game, slamming his glove and hat down in the dugout as he headed to the locker room. Right now it's being called a hamstring strain and the team is saying he may go for more tests on it when they get back to New York. I don't think we'll see him again this weekend.
From one big Yankee pitching debut to the next, Michael Pineda makes his first start in a Yankee uni this afternoon when these teams hook up again. He'll be opposed by R.A. Dickey.