The New York Yankees were able to pick up the victory on Sunday over the Los Angeles Angels 3-2, taking the series in the process. Fans saw two spectacular starting pitching performances from Garrett Richards and Masahiro Tanaka. Neither pitcher factored into the decision, but both flashed the dominance that is needed in front-end starters.
Richards, who was a former top prospect in the Angels organization, is finally starting to live up to the hype this season. His previous stints in the majors have been a disaster for Richards, but he has finally gotten things clicking this season, looking like the ace of the Angels’ starting staff. He threw seven innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out seven. The two walks tie his season-low for a game.
Walks right now are the one thing holding Richards back, but the stuff that placed him atop top prospect lists is definitely there.
For Tanaka, many will say this was a poor start. If this is the worst they will see of him, then they have an outstanding outlook for as long as he is pitching in pinstripes, and it shows just how high the expectations of him truly are. Tanaka went 6.1 innings, surrendering two earned runs on five hits and four walks to go along with 11 strikeouts.
The four walks are twice as many as he had in his previous four starts combined. Tanaka relied heavily on his split-finger fastball, and the Angels were able to lay off enough that they put him in some trouble. But at the same time, they could not hit it as the 11 strikeouts were an MLB career-high for Tanaka. The split-finger got him into trouble, but got him out of trouble as well.
While Tanaka may not have had his cleanest performance of the season, he showed why he will be the ace of this staff by season’s end. He battled, and was able to keep his team in the game without his best performance. That is one quality an ace needs to have. While neither Richards nor Tanaka factored into the decision, both showed why they are important to their respective teams’ futures.