If we haven't yet seen the best of Masahiro Tanaka yet, then I have no reason to complain.
Tanaka told the New York media on Friday before his Saturday start against the Tampa Bay Rays that he his not very satisfied with the way he has pitched through his first five career big league games, calling his performance "so-so."
Tanaka said that he's not happy with how many early runs he's given up -- which I won't completely disagree with -- but at the same time, having 46 strikeouts and just six walks is nothing to be mad about.
Before spring training, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said that Tanaka would enter the season as a "solid No. 3 starter," despite the fact that Cashman and the Yankees dropped $175 million on him this winter.
But during the season, Tanaka has been pitching more like the Yankees' No. 1 rather than the No. 3, with his 3-0 record and 2.27 ERA to go along with that very impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio I mentioned above.
At least Joe Girardi was there to stick up for him.
“I think probably the biggest thing that we’ve learned about Tanaka is that he’s going to find a way to get it done,” Girardi said. “No matter what his stuff is that day, and no matter what he goes through early in the game, he’s going to find a way to stick around and give me a good chance to win. That’s what I’ve seen from him so far.”
If there was anything i could say about Tanaka's pitching so far, it would be that it's exactly what the Yankees needed, forget how much they paid for him.
The way things are right now, CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda -- the two veterans of the rotation -- have not performed very well at all this season, Kuroda especially. Ivan Nova is done for the year because of Tommy John, and Michael Pineda was not only suspended for 10 games because of the pin tar incident back in Boston, but he'll be out until June, likely, because of a Grade 1 strain of his teres major muscle.
Besides Pineda before the suspension, Tanaka has been the only thing in the rotation that is keeping the Yankees afloat during this tough time.
If Tanaka, who also said he fixed something that will keep him from walking too many people (he's walked six, four in his last start alone, my I remind you), wants to continue pitching "so-so," I'd be just as happy with the Yankees about the results.