Wang dominates Indians to cap 5-0 April

Uh, oh, Jorge
Marquez continues to settle down

How’s that for an April to remember for Chien-Ming Wang? Wang closed out his opening month in grand style today, throwing 7 innings against the Indians. He limited Cleveland to four hits — three singles and a double — while striking out a season-high nine. With Joba and Mo throwing an inning, the Yanks eked out a 1-0 win behind a Melky Cabrera home run.

For Wang, this start — his sixth of the month — really cemented his status as the Yankee ace. He’ll finish the month leading the AL in wins with five, and he has yet to lose a game this season. His ERA is a nifty 3.23, and his peripherals are great. He has 27 strike outs to 11 walks and has allowed just one home run all year in 39 innings. Opponents, meanwhile, are hitting .235/.292/.315 off the righty.

For Wang, today’s line is a departure from what we’ve come to expect from the sinkerball specialist over the year, but it is a welcome departure. Wang recorded five ground-ball outs and six fly-ball outs today while retiring nine by the K. We’re used to seeing few strike outs, few fly outs and many more ground balls, and as some fans in the game thread wondered, what has changed with Wang this year?

From watching him work, Wang seems to have a better idea how to keep hitters off balance. Last season, when October rolled around and the Yanks trekked out to Cleveland, the Indians hit Wang around because they knew what was coming. They knew he would throw mainly sinkers, and they knew they could him them. This year, Wang is going more to his slider and his splitters. Considering that he throws in the mid-90s, this diverse repertoire of pitches will keep hitters guessing. Wang is, in other words, really maturing as a pitcher.

On the other side of the ball, the Yankee offense continued to scuffle today. This time, however, the opposing pitcher was the AL Cy Young Award winner. C.C. Sabathia, perhaps auditioning for his future employer, threw a lights-out game, matching Chien-Ming Wang nearly inning for inning. He threw 8 innings, also allowing one hit while walking one and striking out eight. It was a vintage pitchers duel, one missing from the ALDS, and the Yanks emerged on top.

Game Notes:

  • Despite Joe Girardi‘s post-game comments, The Times story is true: Jorge will go to the DL, and he will go visit Dr. James Andrews. The Yanks’ erstwhile catcher says he doesn’t need surgery, but I would expect a lot of innings at first and DH for Jorge this year.
  • To the Yankees’ center fielder: Who are you and what have you done with Melky Cabrera? The Melkman’s fifth home run — the only run of the game — tied him with Jason Giambi for the team lead in homers. He’s on pace to hit 33 this year. If Melky keeps this up, I will be very happy to admit that I was wrong about his future on the Yanks.
Uh, oh, Jorge
Marquez continues to settle down
  • Jamal G.

    Who knows, maybe Melky Cabrera ass was lit a bit by Brian Cashman’s remarks of how Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson are in the future plans for the Yankees. Maybe he is just adjusting to Major League pitching. Who knows and quite honestly who cares? As long as he can continues to this good starts generally for the season then we are all happy.

    Heh, who would have ever thought that Melky Cabrera would be the one backing Cashman’s decision to not trade Johan Santana and not Phil Hughes? Well, in April anyways.

    • Bruno

      “Heh, who would have ever thought that Melky Cabrera would be the one backing Cashman’s decision to not trade Johan Santana and not Phil Hughes? Well, in April anyways.”

      Good point. I was saying all offseason, Melky’s career path reminds me of Bernie. Not saying Melky will be a middle of the order hitter, but still.

  • Bruno

    “Despite Joe Girardi’s post-game comments, The Times story is true: Jorge will go to the DL, and he will go visit Dr. James Andrews. The Yanks’ erstwhile catcher says he doesn’t need surgery, but I would expect a lot of innings at first and DH for Jorge this year.”

    Uh oh is right. We all knew Jorge was probably going to move to 1B next year anyway, but this isn’t how it was supposed to happen.

  • Lanny

    Melky is showing that you always must show patience with young players. They all dont develop at the same rate.

  • pete

    duncan looked sharp over at first today, though. i’ll take his slumps because when he’s on, he’s as scary a hitter as there is in baseball

    • Jamal G.

      Based on what?

      • steve (different one)

        he’s as scary a hitter as there is in baseball

        are we talking about Shelley Duncan?

        Shelley Duncan?

        are you serious?

        • Ben K.

          You know, steve, I always put Shelley Duncan in the same sentence as Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez except I usually a “not” in between them.

    • Mike A.

      pete, you left out the “AAA” in between the “he’s as scary a hitter as there is in” and “baseball”

  • Yankee Psycho-fan-t

    I think Melky’s power numbers will cool off but from what I’ve seen I’m impressed. He has not been giving away at bats. He’s been seeing a lot of pitches, taking really good swings and generally looks like he’s figured it out. It will be interesting to see if he can continue to make adjustments along with his opponents but he has been a blessing thus far. I would imagine he could hit 20 homeruns this year. He will most definitely eclipse his career high. If he hits .290 with 20 homeruns and continues to get on base he will be one of the best center-fielders in the majors this year. I think today we saw two players realize their potential to the fullest this month in Melky and Wang. I don’t think Wang will strike out 9 every time he goes out but he has learned how to pitch instead of just throwing his sinker. This is great news because if one or two of his pitches aren’t working in a start he can still get hitters out with secondary stuff. I look for him to again come close, if not outright achieve 20 wins this season. The scary things is, he’s reaching his peak years and could continue to perform this way into his 30s. If he continues like this until he’s 32 he’ll be on track for 150 wins by the time he’s 32. That’s pretty awesome for a guy some people STILL don’t consider to be an ace.

  • GoYankees

    Cy Wang’s grit is reminiscent of Andy.

    Still, the Yanks need two long men to cover for Moose, Phil, and IPK. Else the all those short men will be burned out by July.

    • Jamal G.

      I don’t feel that way. Moose gave you seven innings last time out and he won’t be facing the Red Sox 25-30 times this year so 5-7 innings out of him actually should be expected. Ian Kennedy minus that second inning on Saturday could have easily went 6-7 innings and maybe even 8. Ok, maybe the 8 is wishful thinking but he allowed one baserunner through his final three fames after the second inning debacle. Nothing to say on Phil Hughes other than he delivered 23 pitches through the two innings he pitched before the rain delay.

      Granted, I’m in no way saying that the trio of Mussina, Hughes and Kennedy will give you 6+ innings every time out but to expect them not to is wrong.

      • GoYankees

        Thanks, Jamal. You’re right.

  • Brett

    Thank you to Wang, Joba, Mo and Melky for making us forget about all of our holes for one day. Nice to have Shelley’s energy back too.

  • ray sam

    i still think the yankees need to get a veteran starter if they want to win this year somebody to eat a lot innnings

  • ray sam

    glad red sux lost today they are going nowhere look out for detroit angels indians

    • Mike A.

      Sox were swept by the Rays this weekend.

  • ray sam

    where is scotty patterson?

    • Joey

      the last I heard (a few days ago) he was stinkin’ it up in the minors. Well “stinkin’ it up” may be a bit much, but he’s not performing as well as his great spring stats

    • Mike A.

      He’s been struggling a bit in Triple-A. He’s been pitching for a year straight basically (thanks to winter ball in Venezuela), so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s going through a dead-arm period.

  • Chip

    I’m not nearly as concerned about Posada as everyone else seems to be. Hopefully by mid-season we’ll see some Cervelli up here and maybe Molina can stay hot. Besides, it’s not like most teams have a catcher who can do much of anything with the bat anyways. We’ve been spoiled in the past few years having a catcher who can do it all. With Melky starting to blossom into a top of the lineup type hitter, our offense still isn’t concerning me.

    What does concern me currently is this utter lack of ability for anybody on the team to get a hit with men on. Right now guys just look foolish up there whenever there’s ducks on the pond. I mean A-rod of all people struck out with a man on third and one out. I think we’re going to see something really special with this pitching rotation if not this year then the next. Everybody here knows that the offense will come around. How about that Melkman though? He’s seeing a lot of pitches and hitting the ball hard.

  • Haggs

    Not for nothing, but it should be zero homers allowed for Wang. The 1 should have landed in Abreu’s glove and not the Red Sox bullpen at Fenway.

    Yay or nay on CC in Pinstripes next year?

    • Joe

      I’m going to say “yay,” but only if they don’t have to go some ridiculous number of years. Five would be ideal, IMO, but I doubt C.C. would settle for that. The team next year could look pretty different, with C.C., Teixeira, and Dunn out there this offseason, and a lot of money coming off the books…

      • Mark

        I’ll bet Teixeira stays in Atlanta. From what I’ve heard, Atlanta wants to keep him and he wants to stay so I wouldn’t be so sure that we’ll have him. As for Dunn, I dont want him, his sub .200 BA and 160 K’s a year. We already have enough players on are team below .200 with Giambi and Cano. I’d rather not add a third especially one that is making 13 million this year. I still havet decided with Sabathia. He was dealing today but this season will really be the test.

        • Seven Costanza

          it’ll be interesting to follow cc this year. on the one hand, if he has a shitty year, we could get him for much cheaper than originally anticipated. would this be ideal? maybe he would take an andruw jones type contract to try to reestablish value. on the other hand, a shitty year could also indicate a steep decline…

    • Double-J

      Definitely yes to Sabathia. Especially since he’ll be a FA, and we know his capability for pitching in the AL, I’d be all over that. It would be a great signing.

      As far as Teixiera, it’s going to be hard to sign him considering it looks like we just inherited a first baseman in Posada for the next four years. Ugh.

  • mikef

    nce shot by Melky today< but i think as a fan I would have been just as happy if he got down a bunt yesterday and not punting the at bat by being psyched out and swinging at a horrible pitch when the Yanks needed an executed, fundamental play. My fear with Melky is the same as Cano – their fundamentals are poor – i’m a big believer in the “winning player” mentality – and this is borne out whenever the Yanks move them up in the lineup. Both of them may be second half of the order guys in the future, and maybe have numbers which makes you wonder why we can’t move them up, but whether they were promoted too young or they have stopped learning I fear what-we-see-is-what-we-get. PS can someone tell Melky that he is not Clemente and perhaps some of those assists were lucky last year, and we will be better off with a cut-off man being hit instead of throwing thru??

    • pete

      admittedly, melky has made some bad throws this year, but come on, it’s april – “some of those assists were lucky” – thats bullcrap. the guy can flat out throw, and if i remember right, he didn’t really get his throws on the money until a bit late in the season, then started gunning everybody down. He may or may not be able to hit, but the one thing we do know is that the guy has a plus, plus, plus arm, and you don’t throw to the cutoff man if you need to get the guy out. To be honest, I’m kindof happy about his poor throwing early. It’s always nice when opposing managers give us outs at home plate because they are under the impression that melky is a wild thrower, despite the fact that throughout his career he has been, for the most part, as accurate as anybody in baseball. In fact, the only thrower in the game today better than melky is Ichiro. Delmon Young, BJ Upton, Michael Cuddeyer, Jeff Francouer, and a couple of others (not vlad – sure he can throw the ball about 300 yards but i haven’t seen him actually throw a guy out in years) are at best on par with melky. Quit whining.

      • Ben K.

        Vlad has more outfield assists in fewer chances this season than Melky does.

        • Chip

          Which just means they’re taking bigger chances on Vlad

  • felixpanther

    Gardner in CF, Cabrera in RF and let Abreu go next year, save the money for pitchers

    • Mike A.

      The drop off in production from Abreu to Gardner is so severe that it’s not even funny. Gardner could maybe replace Damon’s production in a best case scenario, but the 20 homers and 100 RBI Abreu gives will be sorely missed.

  • Bonos

    Two scenarios – if Melky can hit over 20 HRs this year and Gardner maintains his play in AAA, moving up after the All Star break thus lighting a fire under Damon.
    Then you can afford to let Abreu walk.

    Second Brackman coming off a successful rehab – maintaing his fastball and doing a Joba next year. In 2010 you would have 4 number one starters, barring injuries, two topping out in the high nineties. Scary stuff

    • Mike A.

      Light a fire under Damon? Have you been watching the games? He’s been outstanding lately.

  • iYankees

    The Yanks will probably resign Abreu next year. The only thing that can hold that up is the amount of years he wants. He’s their best option. I wouldn’t want to see Pat Burrell or Adam Dunn out there, that’s for sure.

    I understand that people would like to see Abreu go and then we promote prospects to save money for pitching, but the Yankees will not be broke at the end of the season. In fact, they won’t be broke next year, or the year after that, or the year after that. They’ve got a lot of money coming off the books in a year, and I would be surprised if the Yanks didn’t get CC or Tex (this scenario has Posada as the catcher). Mark Teixeira will be phenomenal A-Rod protection, no matter how much he costs.

    • Ben K.

      I wouldn’t mind seeing Pat Burrell out there.

      • iYankees

        Really? Hmm, I don’t know. I like his power, but he seems rather inconsistent (although injuries have hampered him a bit). Judging by his start so far, he’s looking to cash in.

  • barry

    Dunn at least has a lot of power. I would love to see Gardner starting with his speed and gap power.

  • felixpanther

    no.. not another LF / DH, we have matsui and Damon, where we going to play them? Dunn or Burrell strike out too much for my liking

  • mustang

    A little side note:
    3 out 5 of Wang’s wins were save by the combo of Joba to Mo.
    Do you think Wang wants Joba to be a starter?

    • Wolf Williams

      Oh, man… don’t open that can of worms again. Can’t we just enjoy a beautiful Sunday game? This game was a real pleasure to watch. I’d like to just spend a day being thankful for games like this one. You’re trying to start a fire, bro…..

      • Ben K.

        You got it. That’s called being a troll.

        The debate is over. O-V-E-R. Over. All of the Yankees’ brass have said that Joba will move to the rotation. There’s no discussion anymore.

        • mustang

          Ok define troll?
          The wife is the CEO at a graphic design company I’m not.
          So I’m out of date with the computer lingo?
          And until he makes is first start this season nothing over.
          I wasn’t trying to start anything just stating a fact that’s all.

          • mustang

            I still want to see if the Yankees have the balls to pull him out of the pen in the middle of a race. We will see.
            I loved the win too.