This morning there was a report that the Rakuten Golden Eagles would try to persuade Masahiro Tanaka to stay in Japan. Now, late this afternoon, comes word that they will grant his wish to be posed after all. The report comes from Sanspo.com, via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
As previously reported, the new posting system has a maximum bid of $20 million, so there will be no shortage of teams interested in bidding on the phenomenally talented Tanaka. So far reports are that the Yankees, Cubs, Angels, Dodgers and Diamondbacks are going to bid, and no doubt many others will as well.
Perhaps there are a few who still miss the slope of Tal’s Hill rising from center field, but George Springer isn’t one of them. He lassoed a 403-foot fly ball from Todd Frazier in the seventh inning of Game 6, reaching nearly to the top of the wall to prevent the Yankees from gaining on the Astros’ 3-0 lead.
According to Statcast, a fly ball with an exit velocity of 103.6 MPH and a launch angle of 29 degrees lands for a home run 72% of the time. That wasn’t going to fly with the Astros, who were facing runners on first and second with one out and saw Justin Verlander‘s pitch count rapidly approaching 100.
It wasn’t long before the Yankees tried for another home run, however, and this one sailed far above the heads of all of the Astros’ outfielders. Aaron Judge lofted a 425-foot shot to left field in the eighth inning, destroying a first-pitch fastball from Brad Peacock and finally getting New York on the board.
The Yankees currently trail the Astros 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth.