Dr. Tanaka and Mr. Hyde-Who Will Appear for the Playoffs?

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Saturday, Sept. 30.

In Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Dr. Henry Jekyl makes the terrible mistake of drinking a potion that turned him into Mr. Edward Hyde, a monstrous creature.  At first he could change characters at will, but before so very long Mr. Hyde took over completely.  The Yankees’ pitcher Masahiro Tanaka may never have heard of the Scottish author Stevenson’s creation, considering the book was published in 1886. Be that as it may, he has had two distinct pitching personas this year and today we saw Dr. Jekyll at his very best, even better than when he beat his countryman Yu Darvish on June 23 in an old-fashioned pitching duel of a sort rarely seen in today’s version of the MLB game. He struck out 9 Rangers while Darvish whiffed 10 Yankees in a game the Yankees won 2-1 in 10 innings.  But in a disturbing number of games Mr. Hyde has shown up wearing Tanaka’s number and served up one home run ball after another.  The worst example was on Derek Jeter night, with an ESPN Sunday night baseball audience.  He left in disgrace in the second inning with his team down 8–0.

 

Yesterday’s game was a 4-0 Yankee shutout win with Tanaka striking out 15 men in 7 innings.  Only the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg has equaled that mark in 2017 and no pitcher has struck out more than 15 men in a game in spite of the disturbing amount of strikeouts modern hitters produce. The first 14 hitters came up and went down, 10 by strikeouts before  Blue Jays hitter Ezequiel Carrera got a hit, one of only 3 they would get all afternoon.  Carrera got careless and Tanaka picked him off.  Last week, Mr. Hyde gave up 3 home runs to these same Blue Jays in Toronto.

As things stand now in the Bronx, Luis Severino who came into his own this season will pitch Tuesday night against the Twins.  Should the Yankees win, Sonny Gray would then start game 1 of their ALDS with Tanaka set to go in game 2. Because of his split personality the overpriced import has a 12-12 record and an ERA close to 5. To his credit, after a 5–7 start he has won 7 decisions out of 12 in his most recent 15 starts. When he was 5-7 it looked like he and CC Sabathia would be the anchor chain around the Yankees to keep them out of the playoffs.

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