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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Welcome To MLB Masahiro Tanaka

Tanaka Masahiro (surname first), the Japan baseball league All-Star of 2013 with his 24-0 record, made his first Major League Baseball start on Friday April 4, 2014 for the famed New York Yankees against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays are my favorite American League team. Pittsburgh Pirates are my favorite team owing to the fact that I've been following them long before Toronto got a team in 1977.

Anyhow... it's Toronto's home opener... so let's see how Tanaka did against the Toronto team in his first set of pitches against MLB hitting in a regular season game:

Hmm... not so good.

But, you should know that he did strike out the third and fourth batters...

His split-finger fastball is nasty!

Over-all... he went 7 innings, grabbing the win, giving up 3 runs - but only 2 earned, 6 hits, 0 walks. He had 8 strikeouts and threw 97 pitches.

Not great, but good enough. the important thing for the New York Yankees is the win.

By the way, Japanese media was all over Toronto to cover Tanaka's start, even having a team of Japanese radio announcers doing the play-by-play.

Sportsnet (Toronto TV station broadcasting the game) switched over to NHK to listen to the Japanese do the play-by-play in Japanese... and even though balls and strikes were being thrown, there was not a lot of talking to describe the game to the fans... that was disappointing and confusing to me.'s a chart showing how three other famous Japanese pitchers have done in their rookie season in MLB.
Nomo Hideo (left) was my favorite Japanese player when I first watched him play as a rookie in Japan... I have his rookie Japanese baseball card. Known in Japan and MLB as The Tornado for his windup, in the MLB, he was fourth in voting for the Cy Young Award for best pitcher in the National League and the Rookie Of The Year in the National League while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Of course... Tanaka has a ways to go in equaling Nomo's stats, but it is a long season... and that's why they play the games.

Andrew Joseph

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