Former New Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is still pitching at a high level for the Rakuten Golden Eagles. His excellent performance led to a milestone on Friday.
Tanaka struggled against the Hippon-Ham Fighters, allowing seven runs on six hits and two walks over his 4.2 innings. However, he struck out three batters, including the 2500th strikeout of his career between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball.
Former New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka humble during milestone ceremony
Tanaka focused on more than that milestone in his Twitter post. He apologized for his performance on the mound on Friday, saying that his pitching was “miserable.” He also promised to do better in terms of helping the Golden Eagles to victory during his next trek to the mound. However, he had certainly done his part his his previous outings prior to Friday.
Every pitcher has the occasional rough outing. Tanaka had been excellent over his previous three appearances, allowing just two runs on 17 hits and four walks in his 17.2 innings, striking out 17 batters. Despite being 34 years old, and with over 2700 professional innings on his arm, Tanaka is showing that he is capable of getting plenty of outs, even if he had a tough showing.
This may just be the latest milestone that Tanaka reaches. He has 192 professional victories, with 200 wins well within his sight. He is likely to pitch long enough to reach the 3000 strikeout plateau, potentially joining Yu Darvish and Hideo Nomo in reaching that milestone between the majors and NPB. It may take another three years or so, but it would be foolhardy to count Tanaka out.
Former New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka reached another milestone on Friday. He notched his 2500th career strikeout between the majors and Nippon Professional Baseball.