ESPN- Cold, shorter rest, a bigger ball. No matter the challenges, Masahiro Tanaka is making a smooth transition from Japan to the major leagues for one major reason: his split-fingered fastball. Tanaka allowed two bunt hits in eight dominant innings on a frigid Monday, Carlos Beltran homered for the third straight game and New York welcomed the Chicago Cubs to the current Yankee Stadium with a 3-0 victory in the opener of a day-night doubleheader. “That split is not something you want to sit on. It’s not something you’re going to be able to handle,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “But, as it was coming out of the hand, as the guys were coming in, they were saying, `Gosh, it looks like a fastball. It ends up diving.” And it makes batters look silly. The 25-year-old Japanese right-hander struck out 10 for his second straight start, this time while wearing three-quarter sleeves on a 43-degree day that felt much colder because of a brisk wind. Tanaka (2-0) gave up a replay-aided hit to Junior Lake in the second inning, and Anthony Rizzo pushed a bunt toward a vacated third base with a shifted infield leading off the seventh. Tanaka has 28 strikeouts in 22 innings, the most strikeouts for a Yankees pitcher in his first three career starts, according to the Yankees via the Elias Sports Bureau. His 28 strikeouts through his first three major league games are tied for third-most since 1900, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He is also the second pitcher since 1900 to start his MLB career with at least eight K’s in each of his first three games, joining the Washington Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg (who did it in four straight in 2010).
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I can hear all of you simple fucks right now “It’s only April. He won’t be shit. There are still 10000 more games left.” Well you can all go fuck yourselves. I know what day it is, I’m not slow. I understand that 60% through the season he could and most likely will slow down with his strikeout-walk ratio but I don’t give a shit right now. The pitching has been awful for the Yanks the past few years and I am going to be excited about this right now. CC looks terrible. Kuroda will be solid and Nova looks like he can string some wins together. But Pineda and Tanaka are the guys to watch and they will be the most exciting 4-5 in baseball by far. Sure Pineda puts a little ‘dirt’ in his hand for grip, who cares. He looks a billion times better than fat boy Jose Montero out in Seattle so I think we won out on that trade, even if it is 3 years after the fact. So fellow Yankee fans, rejoice! We are having a good April with minimal injuries and some solid pitching. Outside of CC. That guy needs to start eating some Captain Crunch holy shit.

-Jesse

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