The Yankees might have avoided departing Houston not utterly embarrassed, but the Astros certainly humbled them by taking the series 2-1.
Kudos to the Astros, as they did not play like a 100+ game loser but I think the Yankees can take some credit for that too.
Hence making it almost impossible to analyze or predict how Tanaka will do pitching-wise, but you can bet psychologically the stress on the 25-year old to continue on the path of excellence is enormous.
Not only will baseball fans in the States be watching, but also the entire country of Japan will be cheering on their homegrown pitching icon.
The Jays hitters will be a sincere test for Tanaka, as I shiver whenever I see Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion come to the plate. Add in Adam Lind, and that is one of the strongest middle-of-the-order combos in the game.
The Jays will be sending right-hander Dustin McGowan to the bump, and in a sense it is his mini-debut too.
McGowan has not started since 2011, as he was injured for all of 2012 and last year came out of the Jays bullpen. The last time he faced the Yankees, McGowan got the win but that was back on September 16, 2011…so who cares.
The active Yankees have a combined .451 batting average vs. McGowan with Brian Roberts and the Captain giving him the most problems. So, look for the two veterans to get some knocks for Tanaks (supposed to rhyme).
Tanaka’s performance might be TBD, but in four of the last five years, minus 2010, the Yankees have maintained a winning season record vs. Jays.
Over the last two seasons the Yankees have gone 25-12 against the Jays, but keep in mind that nine out of the 12 losses did occur in Canada.
Bottom line is all divisional rivals play each other around 18 to 19 games a season, so Tanaka could benefit from making his debut against a team the Yankees have plenty of experience with.
What would make tonight even more perfect is for the Yankees bats to get going.
Alas, my Tanaka Time will come via my DVR on Saturday as I have a birthday bash to attend. I religiously would keep watch on my iPhone (thank you.. MLB AT BAT app), but for this game, I might want to be surprised.
"Yankees: Tanaka tonight Toronto",