Masahiro Tanaka’s effectiveness is tied to his ability to fool batters with his signature split-finger pitch.
The Astros seemingly took some of the mystery out of that guessing game, and Tanaka joined a growing horde of frustrated Yankees who lost in seven games to the Astros in the 2017 ALCS.
According to Newsday, Tanaka was asked on Monday as he arrived to spring training if he thought the Astros had cheated the Yankees out of a World Series title that season.
“I do feel that way, yeah,” the usually reserved Tanaka said.
Tanaka started Games 1 and 5 of that series, losing the opener 2-1 while throwing six innings of two-run ball. In the Bronx, Tanaka threw seven shutout innings in which he struck out eight Astros.
The Yankees would take a 3-2 lead back to Houston before losing both games there and sending the Astros to the World Series. MLB found that the Astros used a camera system that season to alert batters what pitch was coming. The Astros will keep that World Series title, but the ramifications of MLB’s report led to the firings of manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow.