Masahiro Tanaka struck out a career-high 15 batters as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays, 4-0, at Yankee Stadium on Friday. >> Box score
Tanaka didn't allow a baserunner until giving up an infield single with two outs in the fith inning.
Starlin Castro's RBI infield single and Greg Bird's sacrifice fly in the first inning gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
Aaron Judge's RBI single in the fifth inning extended the Yankees' lead to 3-0, and Bird's RBI single in the sixth made it 4-0.
Did Tanaka just shoot past Sonny Gray in the postseason rotation hierarchy?
Tanaka has an ability to dominate a lineup as he did today, with a career-high 15 strikeouts. I'm not certain Gray can do that based on his performance since coming to New York. Gray is a solid six-inning pitcher, but his makeup seems like that of a No. 3 starter, because he lacks the demeanor to attack.
Tanaka, once he feels that he has his stuff in line, goes straight after batters. When Tanaka is in a groove like today, he feeds off the results and stifles his opponent. At issue, of course, is that Tanaka has also been very bad at certain points this season. This makes Yankees manager Joe Girardi's decision a bit more difficult than merely looking at the last start by each pitcher.
We'll have to wait and see if the Yankees can reach the ALDS before this matter, but it is an intriguing question which Girardi will likely give some thought to over the next several days.
The Yankees continue their three-game series with the Blue Jays on Saturday at 4:05 p.m.