No matter what happens during the regular season, when the playoffs arrive Masahiro Tanaka finds a way to raise his level of performance. We began to witness his postseason prowess in 2017 against the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros, and the trend has continued ever since. With Tanaka set to become a free agent in 2020, it would be beneficial for both parties for him to find a way to pitch to that dominant level throughout the regular season.
Before we get to what Tanaka did differently during the postseason compared to the regular season, we must look into changes he was forced to make this year because of the juiced ball. Everyone knows balls were flying out of the park at a historic rate, and pitchers needed to make adjustments pertaining to what pitches in their arsenal were no longer working as effectively as before. Tanaka’s slider continued producing great numbers but his split finger did not.
Tanaka’s Split Finger Outcomes