The beat goes on for Masahiro Tanaka. Despite transitioning to a new country and an entirely new league that happens to be filled with the best baseball players on the planet, the 25-year-old right-hander has been every bit as good as advertised through his first seven starts, posting a 5-0 record with a 2.57 ERA and 58 strikeouts over 49 innings.
For those watching, it was difficult to tell if Tanaka was even breaking a sweat on the hill. He was in control for nine innings, requiring 114 pitches to record 27 outs, which is about as efficient as you can hope for in a complete game. Of course, it helps when you don't issue a walk, which has been a running theme for Tanaka. This was his fourth outing without a free pass this season.
The confident right-hander added eight strikeouts to his impressive total. His overall numbers improved to 6-0 with a 2.17 ERA, and if you go back to his days in Japan, he's now won an astonishing 34 straight regular-season decisions!
What more can you say? Tanaka has already established himself as the Yankees' undisputed ace, which would be the case even without injuires to CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova. He's already moved into that elite group of pitchers who are worth watching every time they're on the mound. Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish and the recently injured Jose Fernandez are among the others.
Perhaps the better question now is: What can't Masahiro Tanaka do?
Apparently the answer is nothing when it comes to baseball because right in the middle of his dominant outing on Wednesday, he also collected his first career hit, coming off reliever Jose Valverde.
A clean single up the middle punctuated by a confident toss of the bat as he strides to first base. Indeed, his entire game looks smooth and almost effortless. That's especially true when compared to Mets pitchers this season, who are now a combined 0-for-64 at the plate. That's the second longest stretch to begin a season since 1900.
Tanaka has no such worries. His first big league hit is behind him, and that's not what he's paid to do anyway. Those who face the pitcher Masahiro Tanaka have plenty to worry about though, because his confidence is soaring and he figures to get only more comfortable with each passing start.
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