Geck's Thoughts on Masahiro Tanaka
Overall I thought Masahiro Tanaka had an impressive home debut. Tanaka pitched 7 innings allowing 7 hits, 3 runs while striking out 10. Tanaka was only hurt when he hung a slider to Jonathan Schoop, and Schoop was able to sneak it inside the foul pole for a three-run homer. The slider seems to be a weak spot for Tanaka at this point. He hung another slider to Matt Wieters (I think), but Wieters was unable to make solid contact. One thing that impressed me was Tankas’s ability to pitch from behind.
Tanaka made some of the Orioles hitters look silly with his splitter. That splitter comes out of his hand looking like a fastball, and then falls off the table. The splitter averaged around 88 mph and his fastball averages about 91 mph. With how late his splitter breaks it leaves hitters guessing. This was most prevalent when Tanaka fell behind Nelson Cruz 2-0. Tanaka came back with three straight splitters in the dirt and Cruz swung through all of them. Chris Davis saw a similar fate. Like Cruz, Davis was up 2-0. Tanaka then came with two splitters out of the zone that Davis swung through.
Instead of coming with a third splitter with he went with a fastball, and it froze Davis. Yes the pitch was inside, but it was still a great pitch. Speaking of the fastball, that pitch has some crazy movement. Based on what I saw today i think that Tanaka will be a pretty good pitcher.
Some other notes, the announced attendance was 39,412. There is no way that there were 39,412 people there. You would think the first time your $175 million pitcher starts at home people would want to see.
On the trip the Orioles had five sac flies. All five came in the three wins. This is something I like to see because the Os typically have trouble scoring runs will less than two outs.
If Wieters keeps hitting like this, he has a chance to win MVP. I know its too early to say that, but I have never seen him act like this at the plate. He has the longest active hit streak in the league right now (9 games). Of course this is coming in a contract year, so he could have a high price tag this off season.