Game 1 Recap: Tanaka and Torres Set the Tone as the New York Yankees steal Game 1 in Houston

The blueprint for Yankees success was executed perfectly as they stole Game 1 in Houston. Tanaka set the tone early and the Yankees offense exploded for 7 runs. By all accounts the Yankees played a flawless game. The offense clicked, Tanaka and the relievers shutout the Astros, and the defense made spectacular plays. But there were two guys who shined brightest tonight, and they were Masahiro Tanaka and 22-year-old Gleyber Torres.

It’s Tanaka Time in October

Photo credits to @MLB Twitter page

Coming into this series all eyes were on the Astros starting rotation featuring 3 legit aces. But tonight Masahiro Tanaka reminded everyone that he too is a big game pitcher, and among the very best to ever do it in the postseason. After his 6 inning shutout, where he faced the minimum, Tanaka now finds himself in legendary postseason company.


Through his 7 postseason starts Tanaka has been nothing short of a bonafide ace. He stands alone as the only pitcher in MLB history to allow 2 runs or fewer in his first 7 postseason starts. That adds up to a 1.32 ERA, ranking 3rd best behind Christy Mathewson and Sandy Koufax in postseason history. The ups and downs that come with Tanaka over the course of the 162 game season tends to overshadow his true dominance in the postseason, but it is time to accept and recognize Tanaka as one of those guys you can give the ball to and expect a win.

As for tonight’s performance, Tanaka was flawless and in a different era would have been out there well beyond the 6 innings he hurled. But in the age of analytics, Boone went to the pen despite Tanaka’s dominance and low pitch count. In his time out on the mound, Tanaka was filthy. Mixing in his fastball, splitter, slider and the very rare curveball, he had Astros hitters constantly off balance. He had help from his defense behind him, picking up two spectacular double plays while making all the routine plays as well. But Tanaka was not the only star of the night.

Gleyber Day

Photo credits to @MLB Twitter page

Gleyber Torres has been one of the best players all season long for the New York Yankees, and has not slowed down here in the postseason. Going 3-5, Torres imprint on this game spreads far and wide. His RBI double in the 4th would be all the Yankees needed to secure the win, but Torres piled on and made sure the game would be out of reach. His solo HR against Grienke in the 6th was the first postseason HR in his young career but he was not done just yet. Torres came up with the bases loaded in the 7th and put together an impressive at bat, working the count full before perfectly placing a bloop hit into centerfield, driving in two more runs. And for good measures, Torres picked up his 5th RBI on a groundout in the 9th to end the Yankees scoring for the night at 7 runs.

At just 22-years-old, Torres set all kinds of postseason records here in Game 1 of the ALCS. His 5 RBI’s made him the youngest Yankees player to accomplish that feat in a postseason game and also the youngest 2nd baseman in MLB history to do so.

Looking Ahead to Game 2

The Yankees look to see if they can take the commanding 2-0 tomorrow night when they face Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander. It won’t be easy but if the Yankees play the flawless game they did tonight, and follow the blueprint, they will be tough to beat even for Verlander who has owned the Yankees in previous postseasons.

Photo Credits:

Featured photo: Bronx Pinstripes Twitter



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