While no official announcement has been made, the New York Yankees are clearly hoping that Masahiro Tanaka will be their No. 1 starter in 2016. Through Peter Botte of New York Daily News, manager Joe Girardi was quoted as saying that Tanaka is “on pace” to start on Opening Day.
“He (started) Game 1 of the playoffs (last October), and the idea is that he is our No.1 starter. But you have to see how he does and where he is physically… But he’s on course. He’s on pace.”
This is certainly to be expected. The Yankees do have a talented pitching staff but at this point, a healthy Tanaka is the best starting pitcher they have by a considerable margin.
In 154 innings during the 2015 season, Tanaka recorded a solid 3.51 ERA, a fantastic WHIP of 0.994, and a more than respectable 139 strikeouts.
Tanaka opened his Grapefruit League season on Sunday throwing two innings, allowing two hits, one walk, no runs, and striking out five.
The Yankees will open 2016 in the same place and against the same team where 2015 ended when they host the Houston Astros on April 4. The Astros defeated New York 3-0 in last season’s American League Wild Card game, a game started by Tanaka.