It is no question that Masahiro Tanaka is one of the best postseason pitchers in Yankees history, but which three outings are the most clutch.
The Yankees have a long history of great postseason pitchers. Guys like Whitey Ford, Don Larsen, Goose Gossage, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera are just a few that come to mind. Recently, a new great Yankee postseason pitcher has proved to all of baseball that he is one of the best postseason pitchers. His name is Masahiro Tanaka, and he sports a career 1.76 ERA in the postseason. Let’s take a look at his three best postseason outings so far.
3. 2019 ALCS Game One
The Yankees gave the trusty Tanaka the nod in Game One of the ALCS last year. One question going into the game was how would Tanaka look pitching on eight days of rest. Tanaka quickly silenced those questions as he looked extremely sharp in the first inning getting two groundouts and one pop out. The splitter, that Tanaka had lost in the regular season, was back and Tanaka had perfect control over it. He would come out in the second inning and set the Astros down 1-2-3 again, one of the outs was a strikeout of Yordan Alvarez.
The third inning he would give up a hit, but it would quickly be erased by a double play. Tanaka was looking great and after getting some run support, would come out in the 4th and strike out two batters. In the 5th he would walk the leadoff guy, but the next batter he would get picked up by Aaron Judge.
A line drive to right was caught by Judge who quickly fired to first to double off Bregman. Tanaka would go to pitch the 6th and retire the Astros in order. He finished the game allowing no runs on only 68 pitches. This was quietly one of Tanaka’s best games as he could have easily gone the distance.