Tanaka to Start Wild Card Game at #Yankee Stadium
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK (BRONX NEWS)- Despite an underwhelming final week of the regular season, the New York Yankees are one of the 10 clubs that have the opportunity of being World Series titlists.
Yankee fans have at least one more opportunity of witnessing a meaningful ballgame at Yankee Stadium. The American League Wild Card contest will be played at Tuesday night at 8 pm as the Yanks host the Houston Astros. The winner of that contest will travel to Kansas City to face the Royals in the 3 of 5 American League Division Series, which will begin on Thursday.
Masahiro Tanaka will start for the Yanks against Dallas Keuchel for the Astros. Tanaka faced the Astros once this year, yielding six runs and seven hits in five frames, but not being involved in the decision. In a press conference on Monday, Tanaka through his translator remarked, “I remember it not being a good outing, but this time will be different.”
Tanaka’s honest responses continued when he was asked his opinion of the Astros, “They’re young and exciting players, and put a lot of good swings on the bat. I need to be cautious.”
Yankee manager Joe Girardi, in a press conference dominated by questions about CC Sabathia, was asked why he chose Tanaka to start the crucial contest, “I think he has the ability to mix pitches.” He also spoke of Tanaka’s competitive spirit.
Tuesday’s Wild Card contest will not be Tanaka’s first important postseason game. In 2009, at the age of 21, he pitched in the First Stage of the Climax Series. Four years after, he pitched in three games of the best of seven Japan Series won by his club, Rakuten, over the Yomiyuri Giants. He also pitched for his native country, Japan, in the World baseball classic in 2009 and 2013.
At his press conference, he was asked if he saw any difference between his past big game experience and that of the wild Card game on the following day, “As far as the intensity, it should be the same. Since MLB is bigger than NPB [professional baseball in Japan], the lights may be brighter.
Keuchel was praised highly by Girardi on Monday, “He’s really good at what he does. He or David Price will be the Cy Young winner. He’s that good.” In his last start against the Yankees on August 25, The 20 game winner blanked them for seven innings while only surrendering three hits.
CC Sabathia-The 35 year old hurler announced early on Monday that he will be checking into an alcohol rehabilitation clinic to get the help he needs. Although this matter is personal and should be private, the both General Manager Brian Cashman and Girardi were peppered with questions about Sabathia.
Anyone who knows Sabathia or even has gotten to meet him briefly should be impressed by how he treats others and conducts himself. He has a foundation, PitCCh In, which works to better the lives of urban young people. He has made many appearances in the Bronx and in his native California to do works beneficial to children. He is a human being like all others. Best wishes to him in his very important personal endeavor.