Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka makes history against the Astros in Game 1
Tanaka became the first pitcher in MLB history to allow two or fewer runs in each of his first seven postseason starts, according to Matt Kelly of MLB.com. Tanaka broke a tie with Los Angeles Dodgers legend and Hall of Fame lefty Sandy Koufax:
Masahiro Tanaka is the first pitcher in history to allow 2 or fewer runs in each of his first 7 postseason starts.
He broke a tie with Sandy Koufax (6) after tonight's start — and did so against an Astros team that was held to 2 runs or less just 33 times all year.
— Matt Kelly (@mattkellyMLB) October 13, 2019
The Yankees had a decision to make with respect to who would get the ball for Game 1. Although Tanaka was superb in his lone start against the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, he traditionally has more success at Yankee Stadium.
New York manager Aaron Boone went with his postseason ace to kick off the series, and the results were spectacular. Tanaka threw six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and keeping Astros hitters off balance by locating the splitter and slider to both sides of the plate.
Tanaka brought his postseason ERA to a dazzling 1.32 after his outing on Saturday, and he has allowed just two runs in his last 23 innings of work in October.
This is not the first time Tanaka has held Houston’s offense in check. He made a pair of starts against the Astros in the 2017 ALCS, including a spectacular performance in Game 5 in which he scattered three hits across seven scoreless innings.
Ironically, two of Koufax’s outings came against the Yankees. He pitched a pair of complete games to help the Dodgers win the World Series in 1963.
Although Tanaka has yet to reach the World Series in pinstripes, he has done everything he can to get the Yankees to that point with a series of excellent playoff pitching performances.