Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka Has 3rd-Most Strikeouts Through 5 Starts in MLB History

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffApril 28, 2014

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka throws in the first inning of their baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, April 27, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo

After recording 11 strikeouts Sunday night against the Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has fanned 46 batters through his first five major league starts, the third-highest figure in baseball history, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Herb Score has the record of 50 strikeouts in his first five starts, which he accomplished with the Cleveland Indians back in 1955.

Score went on to lead the American League in strikeouts that season, recording 245 in 227.1 innings, en route to winning the Rookie of the Year Award. He put together a similar season in 1956, but would never again start more than 25 games in a campaign.

Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is second on the list after he fanned 48 through five games in his debut season back in 2010.

Strasburg did not make his major-league debut until June 10 of that year, which limited his season total to 92 Ks in 68.0 innings. The flame-throwing right-hander was memorably shut down early that season, as his need for Tommy John surgery overtook his spectacular performance as the defining memory from his rookie season.

Tanaka is currently third in the American League in strikeouts, and sixth in all of baseball, with Strasburg leading the majors with 53 in only 34.0 innings.

Tanaka is also the only MLB pitcher in the top-10 without a loss, which has helped the Yankees to a 15-10 record this season, good for first place in the deep American League East.