Apr 9, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6) rounds first base after hitting a three run home run off of New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles – Gotta Beat Masahiro Tanaka

The Baltimore Orioles have to beat Masahiro Tanaka. They have to find a way and make it happen, and not just for this Old Timers Day Sunday in New York, but for the other series to come this year and in subsequent years.

Throughout this season, good pitching has shut down the Orioles. That is a trend that has to also change. To be the best, you’ve got to be able to beat the best … maybe not every time, but with some frequency for sure.

This will be the Japanese rookie’s 15th start of the season. He is currently 11-1 with a 1.99 ERA. As Roch Kubatko often writes in his MASN columns, “Is that good?”

The Yankees are 12-2 in the games he has started. The one loss is to the Cubs, of all people, on May 20th. And even that was a quality start, giving up three earned runs is six innings (or maybe it is not officially, as there was also an additional unearned run). Every one of his starts has been a quality start. Does that make him an ace? In fact, he has never given up more than three earned runs.

One of Tanaka’s two non-decisions (and the one that was a loss) was his early season game against the Orioles. He went seven innings and gave up that huge three-run home run to Jonathan Schoop. So, in the words of Dumb and Dumber, “I’m saying there’s a chance.”

And here is another reason to have at least a one-in-a-million hope, especially for a team that hit four home runs on Saturday: Tanaka will reach 100 innings pitched on his next out; he has given up 25 runs, and 13 of those have been on homers … though eight of them were solo shots. The guy is good.

Tying this together with another recent blog post about Ubaldo Jimenez … if you take away the games started by these two pitchers for their respective teams, the Orioles are 35-23 while the Yankees are 27-32. That is an 8.5-game difference for those of you who can’t figure it out because of Common Core math.

The Baltimore Orioles will send their erstwhile ace Chris Tillman to the mound. Sometimes he can be an ace, and sometimes he’s an … well … less than an ace. He has only given up four runs in his last 13 innings, but both games were losses. Tillman is 5-4 with a 4.82 ERA and WHIP of 1.49.

Let’s call this to be a 4-3 Orioles win that we will look back upon as a turning point moment of the season.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Chris Tillman Masahiro Tanaka

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