Mashiro Tanaka continues to attract media attention. His splitter is solid. In three starts he's racked up a number of strikeouts and groundouts.1 To top it all off he's averaging 7 and a third innings pitched each start so far. Of course there is a downside. Of the six runs he's allowed so far2 there were two home runs which suggests that he's tossing a number of pitches with potential to be hit for power as hitters become more familiar with him.
Pitching is an odd thing. The aim is to throw the ball in a way consistently that defies predictability preserves unfamiliarity on the hitter's part. The responsibility for defying predictability in large part fall onto the catcher calling pitches, and much of the pitcher's success in this realm is predicated upon the catcher's ability to fight the parts of being human that contribute to our failings as sources of entropy.3 Preserving unfamiliarity is a much more complex thing.
Continuing strong in the early season seems inevitable for Tanaka. The question is will he do as Lance Lynn did in 2012 having one of the most winning starts of the season only to end 13-4 and doomed to long relief or will he be like Tim Lincecum in 2008 going 18-5 with 265 strikeouts?
- 28 strikeouts, 21 groundouts, and fly ball outs [↩]
- 5 earned [↩]
- This is the exact reason Yadier Molina got to stay with the Cardinals to make the big bucks while Albert Pujols had to sell himself elsewhere. Aging sluggers are relatively fungible. A self aware source of entropy that hits above .300 is irreplaceable. [↩]