BALTIMORE – Masahiro Tanaka has been named to start Tuesday’s American League wild-card playoff game for the New York Yankees against the Houston Astros, manager Joe Girardi said Sunday.
“He is pitching,” Girardi said. “That was the guy we were planning on pitching in that one-game playoff, but we wanted to see how he was, and we wanted to get him as healthy as possible before we pitched him again.
“Tuesday’s a new day. We’re in the playoffs and that’s where we want to be. I think the guys feel good about that and we’ll be ready Tuesday.
“They (the Astros) are young. They’re fast. We have to shut them down. We have to keep them off the bases. They do have power. They hit the ball out of the ballpark, just like we do.”
Tanaka, who went 12-7 with a 3.51 earned-run average, faced Houston once this season on the road, when he surrendered six runs in five innings. In his last start against the Red Sox on Sept. 30, Tanaka allowed four runs in five innings. He was coming off a hamstring strain and had thrown just one bullpen in the previous 12 days.
The Astros will send Dallas Keuchel (20-8) to the Yankee Stadium mound.
“He’s a good pitcher,” Yankees veteran Carlos Beltran said. “Since he’s been in the rotation for Houston, he’s done a great job for the organization. I’ve faced him many times, so you just have to have a good plan, stay in the middle of the field. He’s a guy who’s going to sink a few balls. He’s a ground ball pitcher, so we’ve got to make sure we can get him up and get a good pitch to hit.”
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