Get used to hearing the name Masahiro Tanaka this offseason. He’s likely to get huge money to come to the U.S. If he does, his last act in Japan was something special.
As we noted over the weekend, Tanaka’s record unbeaten streak finally came to an end on Saturday, as the Rakuten Golden Eagles lost 4-2 to the Yomiuri Giants in Game 6 of the Japan Series. Tanaka threw a crazy 160 pitches in that game. So he was dead for Game 7, right?
Wrong: yesterday he took the mound in relief and threw 15 more pitches to get the save in Game 7, giving the Golden Eagles their first ever Japan Series title.
This guy finished the regular season at 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 183/32 K/BB ratio over 212 innings. His 160 pitches notwithstanding, he’s gonna be the biggest draw of them all next year, assuming he makes the jump.
Following a dominant 5-1 win to clinch the National League Championship Series on Saturday night, the Dodgers named outfielder Cody Bellinger their MVP of the series.
Bellinger, 23, made noise when it mattered. Entering Saturday’s game, he carried a meager .190/.227/.238 batting line with just four hits and two RBI, but his hits in Games 4 and 7 became the difference-makers the Dodgers needed to keep pace with the Brewers and clinch the NL pennant. In Game 4, it was Bellinger’s 13th-inning base hit off of Junior Guerra that put the Dodgers over the top for the walk-off 2-1 win. The outfielder returned to put the finishing touches on the series with a go-ahead home run — his first of the postseason — in the second inning of Game 7.
Bellinger wrapped his second season in the Dodgers’ organization in 2018, slashing .260/.343/.470 with 25 home runs, an .814 OPS, and 3.6 fWAR across 632 PA and all 162 games. He’s the youngest Dodgers player to receive the award to date.