The Yankees pulled off a bit of a Game 1 shocker against the Astros in opening game of the ALCS, topping the series favorites 7-0 on the road. The bats came to play, but RHP Masahiro Tanaka did, too.
Tanaka continued his postseason dominance. His ERA in seven career playoff starts is now 1.32.
Over six shutout innings, Tanaka allowed only two runners and one hit. But after just 68 pitches, the Yankees opted for the bullpen.
Yankees reporter Sweeny Murti said on WFAN on Monday that Tanaka had told the coaching staff he was "gassed" after his six frames, which led to the early move to the bullpen. Tanaka did not indicate the decision was in his hands after the game.
"It's a team decision. No surprise there," Tanaka told the YES Network.
But Yankees manager Aaron Boone hinted that Tanaka could have played a bigger part in the decision in his postgame chat.
"He was getting tired and the ball was kind of slipping out a little bit there in the last inning. So I was considering sending him back out there, but then we decided against it," Boone said.
Tanaka notably isn't as successful against a team their third time through the rotation, which also could have played a part in the Yankees' decision. Regardless, the bullpen got the job done as RHP Adam Ottovino, LHP Zack Britton and RHP Jonathan Loaisiga finished out Game 1.