Masahiro Tanaka recorded the first 'Maddux' of 2017 with a 97-pitch shutout against the Red Sox
Much has been made in recent years of the trend toward starting pitchers throwing fewer innings. That very real trend has made complete game shutouts rare. There were only 36 such performances in all of 2016 -- one was only a five-inning game -- and, entering Thursday night, there were only three in 2017.
Even more rare is the sub-category of complete game shutouts in which a pitcher achieves the feat using fewer than 100 pitches. It has been named a Maddux, after Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux, who had 13 such performances during his career. There were only three such performances in 2016.
On Thursday night, Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, in a 3-0 win over the Red Sox, notched the first Maddux of the season, requiring only 97 pitches to shut out the Red Sox lineup. He allowed only three hits and his three strikeouts, while perhaps not ideal for a pitcher in 2017, certainly helped suppress his pitch count.
For Tanaka, it is only the second shutout of his career and his fifth complete game. He needed 118 pitches to make it through his first shutout back on May 14th, 2014 in the eighth start of his Major League career.
So, let's take a moment to acknowledge Tanaka's first ever Maddux, only 13 more and it'll be called a "Tanaka".