CHICAGO -- The word "adjustment" has been a part of virtually every Masahiro Tanaka story since the Japanese righthander signed with the Yankees.
How would he adjust to the larger baseball used in the majors? How would he adjust to pitching every fifth day? How would he adjust to the move to the United States?
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But until this week, he was able to avoid one story line: How would he adjust to his first loss?
The Cubs beat Tanaka, 6-1, on Tuesday night, handing him his first regular-season loss since Aug. 19, 2012, in Japan, a streak of 43 games. So Tanaka, who is 6-1 with a 2.39 ERA, said he will bring some extra motivation into Sunday's start against the White Sox.
"I try to go out there and be my best every time out," Tanaka said through his interpreter. "But given the outing last time, yes, I really want to go out there and perform better."
It wasn't as if Tanaka pitched all that poorly against the Cubs. He struck out seven and walked one in six innings, raising his season totals in those categories to 73 and eight.
"We'll see how he handles it," Joe Girardi said of rebounding from that first loss. "But I'm sure he'll handle it, just like he has everything else. Maybe it will make him mad and he'll reel off 44 this time."
Tanaka said from the first day of spring training that he felt his biggest adjustment would be a physical one, specifically getting his body used to pitching every fifth day compared to every sixth or seventh day in Japan.
How is he holding up physically? "Pretty normal," he said. "Not at the best, but not at the worst."
Clarifying a bit later, he added: "I feel no problem as far as the stamina goes. I think I could be better as far as the actual pitching goes. But stamina-wise, I think I'm fine."
Girardi agreed, saying he hasn't seen anything that suggests that is a concern.
"Usually it seems his stuff gets better as the game goes on," he said. "That's what I've seen for the most part."