Keepin’ things on the down low with Chien-Ming Wang

We are all witnesses
Yanks continue to roll, take series from Mets

That was some performance tonight from Wang, eh? He mixed in change-ups, sliders, fastballs to keep the Mets hitters off balance. And nothing showed this more than Jose Reyes’ wild swing at a change-up in the 8th in which the speedy lead-off hitter screwed himself into the ground. Wang was, in other words, nothing short of brilliant.

For Wang, it’s been a long time coming. Now, that isn’t to say that he hasn’t been brilliant in his three years with the Yanks. But as Mike pointed out in the comments to an early post tonight, Wang’s minor league numbers showed a higher strike out rate. Yet, in the Majors, Wang has relied on his very effective sinker to become one of the game’s premiere groundball pitcher; his career 2.93 GB/FB ratio certainly puts Kei Igawa to shame.

But his Major League strike out numbers have been abysmal. His career K/9 IP is 3.58. Because of this, Chien-Ming’s critics have routinely predicted the ever-popular regression to the means for Wang. While some of the more astute analysts recognize that Wang’s stuff — and his mid-90s sinker — will lead to success even without strike out rates, others feel that it was just a matter of time before the league managed to touch up Wang.

While the detractors looked right after the righties first few starts this year, the Wanger has really turned things around since April, and he capped off a stellar few weeks tonight against the Mets. Wang recorded 26 outs tonight: 13 by ground, 0 by sea, 3 by air and 10 by strike out. That is, of course, a career high. Wang used his sinker, a great slider and an effective change-up to keep the Mets guessing and flailing all night.

We’ve seen signs of this rise in strike out rates all season. He fanned 5 Red Sox and 6 Angels a few weeks ago. It’ll be interesting to see how the season progresses with Wang. He’s 6-1 over his last 7 starts with a K/9 IP of 5.4. That is a recipe for success.

Meanwhile, the Yanks head west with a 13-3 start to June. They’re 3.5 games out of a playoff spot and are playing like the juggernaut everyone thought they would. These are good times for Yankee fans.

We are all witnesses
Yanks continue to roll, take series from Mets
  • Rick

    Yeah, Wang was just plain NASTY last night, and they way he made Jose Reyes look like a little leaguer was plain filthy.

    Big pros for Wang man, the guy when he’s on can make hitters look silly, and if you don’t believe me ask Jo-se, Jo-se, Jo-se, Jo-se Reyes.

  • dan

    reading that made me happy

  • Ben

    Big pros for Wang man, the guy when he’s on can make hitters look silly, and if you don’t believe me ask Jo-se, Jo-se, Jo-se, Jo-se Reyes.

    Nice. I laughed. I hate that cheer.

  • Yankee Fan in Chicago

    Saw that Igawa will be starting on Friday in SanFran. What does he need 7 hr to top Aaron? He could get 4 against our fly-ball friendly soft-tossing Japanese friend.

  • C-Note

    He seemed to have pressence on the mount tonight I don’t think I’ve seen before- He stood there and looked like “there’s no way you bastards are winning tonight” Sometimes it’s hard to forget how early in the game it is for him- he grew up on the other side of the world, had injury issues in the minors, was rushed up as a strater in 2005, and this is only his secong full season in the show(a season that got off to a f*cked start becasue of the genuis running the new conditioning program and the attack of the hamstring bug)… look at him the last few weeks: 6 – 1 during a streach the Yanks desperately needed him, and he’s stepped up… with all the anticipation of Phil Hughes and the return of the Rocket and Dandy Andy I thing Wang sometimes gets lost

    Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make- Florida wanted WANG & CANO for Beckett… Cash said thanks but no thanks— even with the time Wang has missed with the Hammy, he’s still going to finish with more wins than Beckett(who will see some time on the DL and will start to give up MANY long balls) and DICE-K (check Dice-K’s ERA when he’s not facing the NL… and interleague ends soon)

    With Wang the Best is yet to come

  • Rich

    Wang is showing that his ability to induce weak GBs with his power sinker is a repeatable skill.

    Given that he was coming back from a hamstring injury, any of his detractors who thought they might be vindicated after his first few starts this season need to rethink.

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  • Dan

    I think the best comment on Wang I have ever heard is by his buddy Mike Meyers. Mike said Wang won 19 games last year—and he didn’t even really know how to pitch!! He just threw sinker after sinker. Now Wang has developed two new pitches (the slider and the changeup). That’s like a BMW with wings. Man, if he can throw all three pitches in his new repertoire at will, he could easily win 25 games a year. He could dominate the game for 5, 10 years.