As pitching falters, offense comes alive

The Pope has arrived (no not that one)
As always, The Onion gets it right

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.
The Pope has arrived (no not that one)
As always, The Onion gets it right
  • Jamal G.

    Oh you were in the bleachers too, what part? I was in Sec. 39 Row N.

    The Abreu HR was definitely a no-doubter, but I didn’t even track the A-rod bomb, I just waited for the crowd’s reaction to let me know if it went or not.

    Lmao, “EAT A SALAD, clap clap clapclapclap”.

    • ansky

      who got the “eat a salad” chant?
      I cant even begin to pick from tubby bastard to tubby bastard.

    • Ben K.

      No way. I too was in Sec. 39, Row N. Seat 24 for me tonight.

  • ansky

    “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.”

    good point. And something i take for granted. I’ll be interested to see how the hype machine follows Arod through the HR chase. Baseball Tonight was tracking him (understandably so) as he passed Williams and… Foxx(?) tonight.

    Its gonna get wild in these next years

    • Mike R.

      Don’t forget one of the greatest SS of all time.

  • Travis G.

    Wang had absolutely NO control tonight. it happens to the best sometimes.

  • RollignWave

    A-rod’s dinger cleared momument park.

  • Chip

    I just absolutely LOVE watching the Yankees bat on a night like tonight. It seems like they’re back to their old ways of just waiting pitchers out and hitting the mistake pitches. Even our 3rd string catcher was having ten pitch at bats! How about the bullpen? From what I remember they gave up one run in nine innings (and neither River or Chamberlain were anywhere to be found).

    I love the comment about how the Yankees currently have one of the best hitters of all time in A-Rod and probably the best closer of all time in Rivera. Just add to that Jeter (who will wind up behind maybe Ripken as far as offensive shortstops go, I obviously don’t count Honus Wagner) and you have quite the infield when Rivera is on the mound. Who knows, even Posada is going to have some impressive numbers up there after his career is over if he keeps hitting like this.

  • mustang

    I will now officially eat crow :
    Mr. Hawkins, bless his number changing little heart. I have been riding this guy for a week now. Not only did he come through last night, but I was reminded last night by a coworker that he has been better since his Stadium melt down.
    Mr.Bruney, I had this guy back in the minors by now. He is doing so well that I’m actually starting to think he could do the 8th inning job if they try this crazy Joba to the rotation thing in July.
    I can’t believe that they have lost time from both there starting and back-up catcher,shortstop,ace reliever and their two rookie starters have struggled yet they sit at 9-7. Thank your Holiness the Pope.

  • Jersey

    Glad to see Frank Thomas climbing too. I’ve always been a fan of his.

    1. Barry Bonds* (43) 762
    2. Hank Aaron 755
    3. Babe Ruth 714
    4. Willie Mays 660
    5. Sammy Sosa* 609
    6. Ken Griffey (38) 595
    7. Frank Robinson 586
    8. Mark McGwire* 583 R
    9. Harmon Killebrew 573
    10. Rafael Palmeiro* 569
    11. Reggie Jackson 563
    12. Mike Schmidt 548
    13. Mickey Mantle 536
    14. Jimmie Foxx 534
    15. Alex Rodriguez (32) 522
    16. Willie McCovey 521
    Ted Williams 521
    18. Frank Thomas (40) 516

    • Mike P

      Wow. If Alex hits 120 homeruns in the next 3 years. He’ll need 120 homeruns from age 35 onwards to pass Bonds. Even if he misses two years through injury, if he plays ’till 41-42 he gets it.

      His contract really is 300 million badly disguised.

  • mustang

    And when Mr. Hughes throws a no-hitter or comes damn close to it tomorrow everything will be right in Yankee-land. Now this that positive or what. LOL

  • marc

    Did anyone watch Hawkins in his post-game interview… he has a sticker up in his locker that says “Retire 21″… he’s a baller.

    • Geno

      He’s a baller? What does the even mean?

    • Casper

      Hawkins’ “Retire 21” sticker is black and gold, the colors of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s a reference to the sentiment to retire 21 throughout baseball, in memory of Roberto Clemente, a la the retirement of Jackie Robinson’s 42. It’s not a reference to Paul O’Neill.

  • marc

    a baller = “a successful person. Typically used to refer to men, and often implies an abundance of money, women, nice clothes, expensive cars, etc… ” as per online slang lol

  • Mike P

    It’s a stretch, but he could even hit 900-1000 HR. That’s just insane.

  • Steve S

    Does anyone think that Ortiz’s career might be taking the same turn as Mo Vaughn’s. When you look at the numbers (even baseball reference confirms this), they mirror each other through age 32. It was at age 33 that Vaughn completely broke down and missed entire year and then of course his two years of infamy at Shea. Can I dream that this is happening? Or is is premature?

    • Ben K.

      It’s a little premature, but mechanically, he looks out of whack. To me, it looks like he’s swinging from the arms more than usual, and I have to wonder if his surgically repaired knees are making it so that he can’t generate power from his legs. If he can’t plant his front feet and dig into a ball, it’s going to be tough for him to hit for power. We’ll see.

  • kunaldo

    seriously though, who isnt loving our pen? 1 run in 5 innings? bruney is looking every bit the guy to take joba’s spot once he heads for the rotation….not to mention, we have reserves waiting on the farm: ramirez(who is back to striking out EVERYBODY and his walk rate is down), patterson, and my favorite, robertson

  • kunaldo

    and it may not last forever, but our pen as presently constituted is rocking a 3.08 ERA….

  • mustang

    I agree with Steve S. That pitch that Traber threw when he totally missed his target the old Ortiz would of put that in the up deck. It was right there.
    I for one I’m thankful Ortiz kills the Yanks when he is on.

    • Ben K.

      You’re missing a rather vital period in your last sentence there, buddy :)

  • mustang

    What ? I don’t get it just got off work. Lack of sleep so I’m little slow. Enlighten me sir.

    • Ben K.

      This: “I for one I’m thankful Ortiz kills the Yanks when he is on.”
      And this: I for one I’m thankful. Ortiz kills the Yanks when he is on.”

      Unless you are thankful that Ortiz kills the Yankees when he is on.

  • mustang

    By the way Ben K. I’m seriously pulling for your boy tomorrow. I really don’t want the lets send him down shit to start. Which it will if he has another short start. Sorry about that I’m should be thinking positively. LOL

  • Greg G.

    Hey, nobody’s mentioned the nice evening that Mr. Chad Moeller had. Nobody can stop our backup catcher (Molina), or our backup catcher’s backup (Moeller), for that matter.

    Well, except maybe for that guy on the Rays, who in Spring Training did manage to stop our backup catcher’s backup’s backup.

  • mustang

    Thank you. No that note let me get my ass to bed.

  • Chris

    For a second I thought you were thankful that ortiz kills the yanks when he is on. Thats not something to be thnkful for…..

    btw someone fill me in on the eat a salad chant. But nothin beats security tryin to eject a fan, then the fan flashes his big ol ticketmaster 8×11 printout ticket, then the entire bleachers chant ‘hes got tickets! clap clap clapclapclap’


    • Jamal G.

      Some fat ass was in a Red Sox jersey and he kept standing up. So after the “ASSHOLE….ASSHOLE…ASSHOLE” chants they went to “EAT A SALAD clap clap clapclapclap EAT A SALAD!”

      Oh Ben, I was in Seat 7.

      LoL, there were three low key Red Sox fans sitting next to me. A Yankees fan in front of us actually noticed it by their quiteness I guess whenever the Yankees did something good but he was pretty cool about it. He had us laughing saying how he thinks it’s so stupid people chanting Boston Sucks when they won the World Series last year, “They don’t suck you jackass, they won!”. LoL.

  • Pete

    Re: Mariano

    It’s a *really* good thing that we haven’t been talking about him too much this season. Seems like the last few years we’ve been wondering “what’s wrong with Mo?” at this point in the schedule.

    He’s just been automatic.

  • Jamal G.

    Thinking about the Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera comment, it got me thinking about the Seattle Mariners of the late 1990s. When it’s all said and done for Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Randy Johnson, the M’s could have possibly had two of the greatest players to ever grace a baseball field, including the possible best ever, and not only one of the best southpaws of all-time but one of the best ever.

    That’s really amazing for that franchise. Also, they possibly have the greatest DH in Edgar Martinez of all-time and the greatest Japanese player to play in the US of all time.

    • http://deleted Randy

      and they have absolutely nothing to show for it other than a beautiful ballpark. they should have had at least one title because that team was stacked even beyond the people you mentioned.

    • Chip

      Edgar might have been the greatest DH but that still doesn’t put him in any elite category in my mind.

  • ceciguante

    interesting that wang said his sinker was sinking too much and carrying out of the zone. cone was saying during postgame that wang appeared to be suffering from a “lazy wrist” (not sure on which pitch(es)), which he demonstrated by showing that instead of keeping his wrist straight, wang was leaking open with his front side and letting his wrist tilt to the right a bit. the result according to coney was wang pushing the ball instead of getting on top of it, and kinda rolling it off the right side of his hand for a very hittable, flat break from left to right. due to DVR difficulties i didn’t see his performance, so i can’t say i recognized that effect or not. anyone else catch this?

    so, is the final analysis that wang’s sinker was breaking TOO much (hard to believe), but his fastball/slider/change was breaking on a flat plane left to right, and therefore very hittable? interested on thoughts / observations on CMW last night.

    • Billybob

      Gameday had some of Wang’s sinkers breaking 8 inches, which is a shitload for a fastball.