With his number being called for the Yankees to take the mound against the Twins in Game 2 of the ALDS, Masahiro Tanaka put out another solid postseason performance into the books.
Tanaka left Saturday's game after 5.0 innings pitched, in which he allowed just one earned run on three hits, while striking out seven and walking one. Aaron Boone may have gone to Tommy Kahnle a bit early based on how Tanaka was throwing and his shorter pitch count of 83, but Kahnle went to work as well in the sixth, throwing a 1-2-3 inning the included two strikeouts.
The Yankees were up 8-1 when Tanaka exited and managed to hold on for the win to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
"I think the off-speed stuff--the slider and spliter--I think they were both pretty consistent throughout the game, which helped me successful in the game," Tanaka said after the game through a translator. "I wish the fastball was a little bit better. I tried to use that a little bit, but i feel like I was able to use that enough so that both the off speed stuff were working."
With his sixth postseason start in the books, Tanaka has a 1.54 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 32:8 strikeouts-to-walks ratio in those six starts, making him one of the most reliable pitchers for the Yankees to go to in these playoffs.
"I actually don't get to caught up on being good in the postseason and all that," Tanaka said. "Come to think about it, I think it's still a small sample. My thing is just go out there and be the best that you can be."
Even if the Yankees need to use Tanaka again in this series, the home run happy Twins haven't been successful at doing such against Tanaka throughout his career--he's gone 40.2 innings without allowing a home run to Minnesota.