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Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka equals MLB rookie record – SportsUntapped.com
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Added June 10th, 2014 by Ian

Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka equals MLB rookie record
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The New York Yankees rookie pitcher Masahiro Tanaka of Japan is on his way to one of the best rookie seasons for a pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history. Tanaka won his eighth game of the season late recently and joined just three other pitchers to reach eight victories by the end of May in their rookie campaigns since the year 1958. The other three were Kazuhisa Ishii, Fernando Valenzuela, and Jerry Koosman.

Ishii played just four season in the Major Leagues, but was the talk of the town back in 2002 as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He started his career going 6-0 and by the end of May had a record of 8-2. He struggled when July rolled around as he lost four out of his five starts. He finished the 2002 season at 14-10 with an earned-run average of 4.27. Ishi got quite a bit of help from his bullpen since he didn’t pitch more than seven innings in his first eight victories. On the other hand, Tanaka has gone over seven innings in six of his eight wins.

Back in 1981, Fernando Valenzuela, also of the Dodgers, started his MLB career by going 8-0 and owned an incredible 0.50 earned-run average in mid-May. He made it to the All-Star team in his rookie year and pitched a complete game against the New York Yankees in the World Series that season. He eventually led his team to the championship and was honoured with the National League’s Cy Young award as the league’s best pitcher. During his career Valenzuela was named to the All-Star team half a dozen times and racked up 173 wins.

Jerry Koosman of the New York Mets kicked off his career with an 8-2 record back in 1968 by winning his eighth game on May 30. He made the All-Star team that season and finished it with a 19-12 record. However, he was beat out by Johnny Bench for the rookie-of-the-year award. The next season Koosman helped the Mets win the World Series.

Nobody knows how the rest of the season will work out for the 25-year-old Tanaka, but the right-hander’s definitely off to one of the best career starts in the league. As of June 10 his record stood at 9-1. He was named the pitcher-of-the-month for May and had a 2.02 earned-run average along with 92 strikeouts.

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