It was probably high time that Masahiro Tanaka’s unbeaten streak be broken. But it was highly unlikely that the Chicago Cubs would be the one to end it, having the season’s worst record, until the game on Tuesday showed how baseball is really anybody’s ball game.
The Japanese star had a very good record coming into the major league. He had 42 consecutive starts from Japan’s Pacific League and 34-0 in their major league. In the United States, he has a current 6-1 record. The last time Tanaka experienced a loss was more than a year ago when the pitcher was still in Japan and the Seibu Lions beat the Rakuten Golden Eagles. Many fans watching the game expected the Yankees to breeze through the game considering the Cubs were struggling the whole season and the rookies from Japan, most especially Tanaka, have been showing exemplary performances all throughout. Luis Valbuena was in great form as he had three hits with two doubles and scored two runs for the Cubs. John Baker on the other hand, had two hits, scored a run and drove in one. Mike Holt and Jason Hammel also showed good performances for Chicago’s side. However, New York Yankees’ pitcher Tanaka wasn’t that fortunate. It must have been the worst performance of the highly-touted Japanese import so far. He allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings in the match. While he was able to strike out seven and walk on, his command of the game wasn’t really obvious the whole time. Known for a powerful splitter, even that wasn’t much help to Tanaka as his weapon placed Emilio Bonifacio in ball two.
The pitcher couldn’t hide his disappointment after striking out but has promised to perform better in his next matches. “I’m actually looking forward to my next start, try to make my adjustment and try to be my best out there next time out,” he said. Retiring shortstop for the Yankees, Derek Jeter, was honored by both teams in the pregame ceremonies.
[via USA Today]