Tanaka Enters His August Groove — Aug 16, 2019: NY 3 Cleveland 2

Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports

Masahiro Tanaka is entering his August groove. In the past few years, Tanaka has had some shaky middle-of-season performances — but has been getting into a groove for a playoff stretch, starting in August. After getting walloped by Boston for 12 runs in a July 25th start — Tanaka has gradually got his splitter splitting and it’s made a world of difference.

And what a world of difference a day makes for the Yankee pitching staff — facing the hard hitting and 2nd-place-in-Central-division Cleveland Indians who came in 73-49 after crushing the Yanks the night before 19-5. Tanaka shut down that very same lineup — allowing 1 run thru 6 innings and getting the 1st out of the 7th before tiring — allowing a homerun to rightfielder Yasiel Puig and a double to 3rd baseman Jose Ramirez. Tommy Kahnle came in with the 3-2 lead and put out the smoldering fire — striking out 2nd baseman Jason Kipnis and DH Franmil Reyes.

Tanaka’s reaction to Tommy’s pitching:

Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman pitched scoreless innings for the win — Chapman allowing a leadoff walk to put the high wire in place before getting a popout and two strikeouts to end it.

The Offense

The Yanks jumped on top in the 1st on 24-yr-old rookie starterย Aaron Civale, who was making his 4th start. Aaron Judge singled (horaay!) and Gio Urshela singled, then Gary Sanchez singled in Judge, and Gleyber Torres singled in Didi Gregorius who had forced Urshela on a groundout.

Aaron Judge doubled in the 5th and Urshela singled him home for the 3rd run and ballgame. Yes — Aaron Judge 2 hits and 2 runs. Instrumental to the win. He went 2 for 3 with a walk.


Cameron Maybin played left, and got a hit to raise his average to .313 and OBP to .392 — slightly ahead of Judge’s .387 to lead the team. Judge has been over .400 all year but recently came down due to his slump.

With the win the Yanks are 10.5 in first in the division; with the loss Cleveland falls to 1.5 games behind Minnesota. Also importantly, the Yankees have the best record in the American League, 3.5 games ahead of Houston.

Gio Urshela had 3 hits and is now at .342, ahead of DJ LeMahieu who went 1 for 4 and is at .337. Urshela does not currently qualify so LeMahieu leads the league. Urshela is on pace to qualify in 8 games if he gets 5 plate appearances a game (a player must have plate appearances equal to (3.1) x (# of games his team has played)).

Didi Gregorius‘ recap of the game:

The Boxscore




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