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Tanaka set for first taste of Subway Series

After two straight losses at the Stadium, Yanks turn to ace at Citi Field
05/14/2014 10:01 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Masahiro Tanaka has unquestionably been the Yankees' best pitcher this season.(AP)
New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka will get his first true taste of the Subway Series on Wednesday night, as he will take the mound against Mets hurler Rafael Montero - who is making his major-league debut, as it happens -- when the Series shifts to Citi Field.

But after watching the raucousness that was the first two Subway Series games at Yankee Stadium, Tanaka still didn't seem fazed -- as has been his wont -- by any of the pomp and circumstance.

"I didn't notice anything too much in particular (about the atmosphere), I could just tell there were a lot of Mets fans at the Stadium as well," he said through his interpreter on Tuesday.

Really, in his first two months in the majors, nothing has rattled Tanaka. He has continued his roll from last year, getting off to a 5-0 start with a 2.57 ERA and 58 strikeouts in his first seven outings, and he has already seen all of the Yankees' AL East rivals at least once.

He's also 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA on the road after Friday's win in Milwaukee and he even got a chance to bat for the first time last weekend in Milwaukee, but even going 0-for-3 with a trio of strikeouts didn't bother him.

It did give him a slight adjustment to make, though, as he will have to hit for the second time on Wednesday and then lines up to do it again at Wrigley Field next week.

"I have gotten a chance to stand in the box and work on my bunting," he laughed when asked about his hitting prowess, but then turned serious and said, "but I'm just focused more on my pitching, because I want to go out there and get the team a win."

That last line is of tantamount importance, as Tuesday's loss was the Yankees fourth straight defeat, and marked the sixth straight time they have fallen to the Mets.

Add in the fact that three-fifths of the opening day starting rotation is on the disabled list and that in the first 38 games, seven different Yankees have already made one start (with an eighth on the way in Game 40 on Thursday), and one might think that Tanaka is under some serious pressure to perform.

But if you think that, you haven't been paying attention to the 25-year-old's mindset this season.

"No added pressure….nothing changes what I need to do," he said. "I'm just going out there to do my thing. I can only do my job."

If Masahiro Tanaka does that job on Wednesday the way he's done it over the first six weeks of the season, then the Yankees will be in very good shape.

STARTING LINEUPS

YANKEES:

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano RF
Yangervis Solarte 3B
Brian Roberts 2B

Masahiro Tanaka RHP

METS:

Eric Young, Jr. LF
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Curtis Granderson RF
Chris Young CF
Lucas Duda 1B
Anthony Recker C
Ruben Tejada SS

Rafael Montero RHP

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