Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka had a heck of a game against the Marlins on Friday


Yankees GM Brian Cashman signed Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract in January, then spent some time deflating expectations for the right-hander. His spring performance, including his final outing Friday afternoon against the Marlins, may have reinflated those expectations.

Hiroki Kuroda started and tossed three scoreless innings before Tanaka entered the game to start the fourth. Tanaka went six innings, allowed zero runs on three hits (all singles), walked none, and struck out ten. To put that in perspective, there were only eight games pitched in all of 2013’s regular season that matched Tanaka’s outing: six or fewer innings pitched, ten or more strikeouts, and zero runs allowed.

Player Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO
Justin Verlander 2013-09-29 DET MIA L 0-1 6.0 3 0 0 1 10
Justin Verlander 2013-09-23 DET MIN L 3-4 6.0 6 0 0 3 12
Scott Kazmir 2013-09-06 CLE NYM W 8-1 6.0 4 0 0 0 12
Max Scherzer 2013-08-24 DET NYM W 3-0 6.0 3 0 0 4 11
Gio Gonzalez 2013-07-20 WSN LAD L 1-3 6.0 4 0 0 2 11
Julio Teheran 2013-06-28 ATL ARI W 3-0 6.0 4 0 0 1 10
Tony Cingrani 2013-04-28 CIN WSN W 5-2 6.0 2 0 0 1 11
Yu Darvish 2013-04-24 TEX LAA W 11-3 6.0 3 0 0 2 11
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/28/2014.

The Yankees’ only regret is that Tanaka didn’t turn in that impressive performance during a game that counts, but they hope he has more than one of those up his sleeve.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.