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[8/30/2013] Rakuten Eagles: Masahiro Tanaka keeps on winning

by on Aug.31, 2013 @ 12:20 am, under NPB

Masahiro Tanaka extended his winning streak to twenty-three victories since August 26, 2012 and nineteen victories since the start of the season.  He needs just one more victory to tie the NPB's single season record set by Kazuhisa Inao in 1957.  Tanaka is also one victory away from becoming the first Rakuten pitcher to win twenty games in a season since Hisashi Iwakuma won twenty-one games in 2008.

Nikkan Sports has posted a portion of Tanaka's post-game interview:

On looking back at your start tonight.

There was nothing good about it.

What was not good?

Everything.  I was not good, but the position players helped me out.

You won the first game of a three game series.

It is all about winning.  That I won despite struggling means a lot.  They allowed me to win and I am glad we won.

You have won nineteen in a row [from the start of the season].

It was not a goal that I set.  I am happy if I can win with each thing I do.  The team atmosphere is good and I hope we can fight together as one again tomorrow.

Nineteen victories from the start of the season and twenty-three from last year.

It is all about winning one game at a time.

Source: Nikkan Sports 8/31/2013

Sports Hochi has posted quotes from players about Tanaka's game:

  • Atsunoru Inaba (HAM) - The splitter is his weapon, but his fastball is really good this year.  There is good spin and movement.  The fastball travels the same path partway through and because he has control over it, the splitter is that much better.
  • Nobuhiro Matsuda (SOF) - When he was younger that fastball was his main pitch.  His control over the splitter a lot better this year and it can be a problem once you fall behind.  You also do not want to help him out by swinging early.  Very difficult to deal with.
  • Sho Nakata (HAM) - When you fall behind, there is not much you can do, so I look to hit from the first pitch.  You have to make the decision [otherwise you will struggle].  All his pitches are top quality.  That pitch I hate the most is the slider, and then that splitter he uses to finish you off.
  • Takumi Kuriyama (SEI) - I feel as though I am seeing an increase in situations where he takes a step back from things more than I see him ratchet things up in tight spots.

Source: Sports Hochi 8/31/2013

Sponichi has posted Katsuya Kakunaka's (LOT) take on Tanaka this year:

The biggest difference between this year and last year is the splitter.  Last year, it was not so much the splitter as it was the fork.  The fork is slower so it is not too difficult to hit regardless of how much it drops.  The splitter is fast.  And it looks like a fastball right up to the point where you start your swing.  When he is on, it is almost like the ball drops after you swing the bat.

The fastball is also different compared to last year.  If you look at the radar gun, it is faster, but there is also more movement.  Last year it sounded like a heavy thud, this year it sounds like it is whizzing by.  It is rising.  And he is throwing more fastballs and splitters.  When there are runners on base, it is a steady diet of fastballs and splitters.  The slider tends to slip out so he is not using that pitch a lot.  I think he knows this.

The only way to combat that is to make sure our pitchers hold his team to zero runs.  The team cannot lose that way (laughter).  The only thing you can do is be aggressive from the first pitch.  Even if the pitch is a little high or is not what you are really looking for.

Source: Sponichi 8/31/2013

===

Stats during current twenty-three game winning streak

Date Opponent Venue     IP BF NP H HR SO BB HBP R ER ERA
8/26/2012 Nippon Ham Kleenex Stadium SP W 10.0 32 112 3 0 8 0 0 0 0 2.36
9/2/2012 Orix Kleenex Stadium SP   10.0 36 115 6 0 11 0 0 0 0 2.18
9/9/2012 Seibu Kleenex Stadium SP W 9.0 35 116 8 0 5 2 0 2 2 2.17
9/16/2012 Orix Hotto Motto SP   6.0 26 118 7 0 10 1 0 1 1 2.14
9/24/2012 Softbank Kleenex Stadium SP   9.0 34 120 7 0 13 0 0 1 1 2.08
10/2/2012 Softbank Kleenex Stadium SP W 9.0 35 104 6 0 5 0 0 0 0 1.96
10/8/2012 Lotte QVC Marine SP W 8.0 27 83 4 0 3 0 0 0 0 1.87
4/2/2013 Orix Kleenex Stadium SP W 7.0 27 89 5 0 4 1 0 1 1 1.29
4/9/2013 Nippon Ham Tokyo Dome SP W 7.0 25 109 5 0 6 0 0 1 0 0.64
4/16/2013 Softbank Kleenex Stadium SP   7.0 32 122 9 0 5 0 0 3 2 1.29
4/23/2013 Orix Kyocera Dome SP W 8.0 38 133 15 0 6 3 0 3 3 1.86
5/1/2013 Nippon Ham Kleenex Stadium SP W 8.0 32 129 5 0 10 3 0 1 1 1.70
5/8/2013 Nippon Ham Sapporo Dome SP W 7.0 25 95 4 1 7 0 0 2 2 1.84
5/14/2013 DeNA Yokohama SP W 8.0 33 128 7 1 7 2 0 3 3 2.08
5/22/2013 Yomiuri Kleenex Stadium SP W 9.0 33 113 7 1 8 1 0 1 1 1.92
5/28/2013 Hanshin Koshien SP   6.0 25 99 5 0 6 1 0 2 2 2.01
6/3/2013 Chunichi Kleenex Stadium SP   9.0 36 113 8 0 8 2 0 1 1 1.89
6/9/2013 Yomiuri Tokyo Dome SP W 7.0 25 96 3 0 4 2 0 0 0 1.73
6/16/2013 Hanshin Kleenex Stadium SP W 9.0 35 127 6 0 3 2 0 0 0 1.57
6/25/2013 Seibu Seibu Dome SP W 7.0 24 93 3 0 3 0 1 0 0 1.45
7/2/2013 Lotte Kleenex Stadium SP W 8.0 33 116 9 0 6 0 0 0 0 1.35
7/9/2013 Nippon Ham Tokyo Dome SP W 9.0 31 116 4 0 7 1 1 0 0 1.24
7/16/2013 Orix Kyocera Dome SP W 9.0 32 105 5 0 8 1 0 1 1 1.22
7/26/2013 Lotte Kleenex Stadium SP W 9.0 33 90 5 2 2 1 0 2 2 1.28
8/2/2013 Nippon Ham Sapporo Dome SP W 9.0 34 136 8 0 12 1 0 1 1 1.26
8/9/2013 Softbank Kleenex Stadium SP W 7.0 25 92 4 0 8 0 0 0 0 1.20
8/16/2013 Seibu Seibu Dome SP W 8.0 30 106 5 0 10 1 0 1 1 1.20
8/23/2013 Lotte Kleenex Stadium SP W 7.0 30 116 6 0 8 1 1 0 0 1.15
8/30/2013 Softbank YafuOku Dome SP W 7.0 28 102 7 0 6 2 0 3 2 1.20
          233.0 891 3,193 176 5 199 28 3 30 27 1.04
Date Opponent Venue 29 GS 23 W IP BF NP H HR SO BB HBP R ER ERA

4 comments on “[8/30/2013] Rakuten Eagles: Masahiro Tanaka keeps on winning

  1. Raider Fan

    So phony and full of shit. Why don’t Japanese guys just for once admit it’s cool to be the best. It would be so honest and refreshing.

    1. Azza

      That would be something that Ochiai would have done :p

      But he did have a poor game by his own high standards as mentioned and plus, he may well be a perfectionist

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