Saturday, April 5, 2014

Teixeira Injured in Tanaka Debut

The script seemed all too familiar in tonight's game. Mark Teixeira left the game after suffering what turned out to be a strained right hamstring. The hamstring was the same one he injured in the 2010 playoffs, however this time he came off the field on his own. If the Yankees lose Teixeira at first base for any extended period of time, they do not have anyone in the minors who would be able to step up and fill in for Teixeira. Last year the Yankees had Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds in a platoon at first base to really save their bacon. This year, the Yankees banked on Teixeira coming into the season injury-free and now have little back-up options behind Tex.

Aside from another Yankee injury, tonight was the much anticipated debut of Japanese superstar Masahiro Tanaka who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in Japan one year ago. The start to his Major League career of course, came with a leadoff home run to the first player he faced in MLB. Melky Cabrera homered off Tanaka on Tanaka's third pitch of his career in the states. The first three innings were a struggle for the Japanese pitcher, who admitted that he was very jittery and nervous before the start to tonight's game. After allowing three runs in the first two innings, Tanaka settled down and lasted seven innings, which only took him 97 pitches. Throwing 97 pitches in seven innings tonight was a major accomplishment for Tanaka after he sat at 58 pitches through three innings of work. He finished his first Major League start with eight strikeouts and did not walk a batter. In addition, Tanaka only allowed six hits in seven innings, so less than a hit per inning in his first ever start playing on the biggest stage in the world in front of millions of people at home and around the globe. To back up Tanaka's first win in the Major Leagues, Matt Thornton and David Robertson were the ultimate pairing tonight. Betances recorded one out in the eighth but walked a batter to begin the ninth inning where Robertson came in and recorded three straight outs with a four run lead.

Offensively, everyone joined in on the party tonight against a brutal Jays pitching staff. Ellsbury was especially surprising after not playing in last night's game. He went 3-4 with a walk, two runs scored and recorded his third stolen base in four games. Solarte, who played second and moved to third after Teixeira's injury, just keeps on hitting. He went 2-5 with two doubles and two RBI to give the Yankees a permanent lead. Solarte is making the most of his opportunity with the Yankees. He does not want to see the minor leagues again, and if he keeps hitting like he is now (.500), he will keep getting increased playing time.

Another starter will be making his 2014 debut tomorrow. Michael Pineda has not pitched in the Major Leagues since 2011 and has not thrown a pitch since coming to the Yankees in the trade with the Mariners before the 2012 season which sent Jesus Montero to Seattle. If Pineda can be similar to how he pitched in March, the Yankees will have a rotation that can compete with the rest of Major League Baseball. He will be opposite knuckleballer RA Dickey in a 1:07 PM start.

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