As pitching falters, offense comes aliveBy
Chien-Ming Wang has quite the relationship with the Red Sox.
Six days ago, Wang turned 93-pitch complete game that was a few unlucky breaks away from being a potential perfect game. Yesterday, he turned in quite the clunker, lasting just 4+ innings and giving up eight runs to see his ERA skyrocket from the low 1.00s to 3.81. It happens.
After the game, Wang said he was too strong with his sinker. It was finishing out of the zone, and the pitches he could throw for strikes were getting ripped by the Sox hitters. In other words, Wang, like Phil Hughes, must still master that change-up for days when his sinker isn’t on. Major League hitters will tee off against straight fastballs as they did tonight.
On the Yankees side of the ball though, everything went right. Bobby Abreu and A-Rod went back-to-back in the first inning, and the two they hit were no-doubters off the bat, as far as I could see from the right field bleachers. Jason Giambi had a few good at bats, and while Robinson Cano was just 1 for 5, he is hitting the ball well. Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui continued to rake.
Considering the mood around Yankeeland after the Boston series, things have really turned around in a hurry. The Yanks have scored 28 runs over their last three games and find themselves tied for first place at 9-7. As PeteAbe noted, the team batting average, buoyed by 16 hits in 39 at-bats, rose from .261 to .272. The team OBP went from .328 to .340, and the team slugging rose from .415 to .435. It was a good night to be a Yankee hitter, and a bad night to be
laptop thief a Red Sox pitcher not named David Aardsma.
Let me wrap this feel-good win up with three observations:
- As Yankee relievers struggle to throw strikes, the folks in favor of keeping Joba as the 8th inning guy are going to have a field day. I’m just sayin’. I still want to see him in the starting rotation.
- It was pretty ironic that LaTroy Hawkins was the one to stop the bleeding tonight. After Ross Ohlendorf faltered a little bit — while still showing nasty stuff — Hawkins, wearing Luis Polonia’s old number, left to cheers after stopping the Sox for two innings while the Yankee bats did the job. Hawkins recorded his first Yankee win tonight. (I should also direct you to Yankee Numbers. This excellent resource has provided me with the obscure and not-so-obscure Yankee uniform numbers we’ve discussed recently.)
- Wrap your head around this one: Only 14 — fourteen! — other players in Major League history have hit more home runs than Alex Rodriguez, and A-Rod is still just 32 years old. That is a stunning stat. Meanwhile, the Yanks right now have A-Rod, one of the best hitters of all time, and Mariano Rivera, one of the best closers of all time, on the team at the same time. We’re spoiled.