Masahiro Tanaka became the first pitcher in the majors to reach 12 wins after the Yankees defeated the Twins by the score of 7-4 tonight at Target Field, but he did so while failing to notch a quality start for the first time in MLB.
Tanaka gave up four earned runs and nine hits (both career-highs) and struck out just three batters (a career-low) over seven innings. And so, his quality start streak will end at 16. Still, it was the longest such streak to begin a career since Steve Rogers also had 16 straight quality starts with the Expos in 1973.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Yankees and brought them back to an even 42-42 for the year. Carlos Beltran launched a three-run homer in the victory while Zelous Wheeler homered and singled in his major league debut.
Tanaka began tonight’s action tied with Felix Hernandez for the American League ERA lead at 2.10, but he’s now sitting at 2.27 for the year. You could make a strong case for either to start the All-Star Game for the American League, but Tanaka’s schedule might render the debate moot. He’s currently lined up to start the final game before the All-Star break next Sunday.
Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.
Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.
Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.
Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.