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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Masahiro Tanaka and Roger Clemens lost in Wrigley Field for the Yankees. Each sought near perfect records.

Masahiro Tanaka finally lost in this his first season in the Major Baseball League (MBL) in the United States of America.  His U.S. won-loss record is no longer perfect.  Tanaka's last regular season loss was in 2012.  Tanaka did lose his final start in the Japanese 2013 tournament after going 24-0 in the regular season.  Tanaka then saved the final 2013 game the next day in relief.

Masahiro Tanaka May 12 2014
by Wahi43via Wiki Commons
Last night Tanaka lost 6-1 in Wrigley Field to the Chicago Cubs.  Tanaka has pitched in nine Yankee games, all starts.  The Cubs are the first team Tanaka has faced a second time so this may be a cautionary defeat after six wins and two no decisions.  Tanaka did continue his outstanding strike out (SO) to Base on Balls (BB) rate: 7 to 1 against the Cubs.  In his 9 starts Tanaka has allowed fewer hits than innings three times, including the two bunt singles in 8 innings Tanaka allowed at Yankee Stadium in defeating the Cubs 3-0 April 16; SO-BB: 10-1.

In wins against Boston and Tampa Tanaka allowed two homers, plus single homers in games against Toronto, Baltimore and the Angels.

As a Yankee fan I have two absolute criteria for a new hot shot pitcher:

Beat the Red Sox.  Beat the Mets.

That's paramount.

Beat the Red Sox.  Beat the Mets.

Tanaka has won against each on the road, including a complete game shutout of the Mets in his start immediately before losing to the Cubs.

Beating the Red Sox and Mets was more difficult for Roger Clemens after he joined the Yankees in 1999.  His inability to retire Met Mike Piazza led Clemens to further expose his dark side.  Clemens hit Piazza in the head in a regular season game and threw a broken bat at Piazza in a World Series game, which I attended.

In 2001 at age 38 Clemens was 20-1 on September 19 with a chance to set a record for best winning percentage.  But he pitched poorly in his final three starts: two losses, one no decision.

In 2003 Clemens won his 300th game but not before trying for it and losing to the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field 5-2 on June 7 before 39,363 packed into that small park.   In 6.33 innings Clemens allowed 3 run (2 earned).  His next start was win number 300.

The Yankees had played the Cubs twice in the World Series and swept them both times: 1932 and 1938.  I think the Clemens loss was the first for the Yankees in Wrigley Field, which brought even more shame on Clemens.

Saturday, October 1, 1932, , Wrigley Field  World Series game 3
Attendance: 49,986, Time of Game: 2:11
Yankees 7, Cubs 5
W: George Pipgras (1-0)
L: Charlie Root (0-1)
S: Herb Pennock (1)
HR: L Gehrig 2 (3, 2 off C Root; 3rd inn, 0 on, 0 outs to Deep RF; 5th inn, 0 on, 1 out to Deep RF); B Ruth 2 (2, 2 off C Root; 1st inn, 2 on, 0 outs to Deep CF-RF; 5th inn, 0 on, 1 out to Deep CF).

That Babe Ruth homer in the 5th was the called shot, followed immediately by a homer by Lou Gehrig.

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