Chien-Ming Wang’s new groove

Sanchez still MIA
Third time's the four-in-a-row charm for Rivera

As wind, lightening and rain shook the New York area shortly before 10 p.m. on Tuesday, 3000 miles away, the Yankees and the A’s prepared to battle. The Yanks came out of the gate strong, scoring two runs in the top of the first to spot their recently-struggling ace to a 2-0 lead before Chien-Ming Wang even had to throw a pitch.

The top of the first was a little dicey, and as I sat on my couch watching, I grew a bit concerned. Wang hit the first batter of the game and then recorded three outs in a row, but the outs were of the loud variety. The A’s hit three fly balls off of Wang who was, once again, leaving his pitches up in the zone.

But as the first inning rolled into the second, something clicked, and Wang re-emerged as a dominant starter. Over the next 6.1 innings, until being lifted following just the fifth fly-ball out he would induce all night, Wang turned in one of his ground ball clinics. He recorded 15 outs via the ground ball and commanded four double plays off the bats of the A’s hitters. The sinker-ball specialist had gotten just four double plays over his last seven starts combined.

When the 8th inning rolled around and Wang was at 83 pitches and clinging to a one-run lead, I thought a complete game might be within his reach. Mariano the Great had thrown in three straight games, and Wang was rolling. But Jack Hannahan’s deep fly-out brought Joe Girardi out of the dugout and Jose Veras out of the bullpen. Veras pitched into and out of a bit of trouble, and with Kyle Farnsworth available today, I’m beginning to wonder if Veras is now the Yanks’ 8th inning guy. Following a Melky Cabrera home run — his first since May 4 — Rivera nailed down the save for his fourth appearance in as many days.

All in all, this is exactly the kind of game the Yankees needed. They needed Wang to re-emerge as that front-line starter; they needed to start the Oakland/Houston road trip off right; and they needed to capitalize on a night when Boston and Tampa both lost. So once again the Yanks are one game over .500, and hopefully, they can reach that two-games-over plateau tomorrow.

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Sanchez still MIA
Third time's the four-in-a-row charm for Rivera
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

    I did not hear the situation but Joe Girardi did say in the post-game that Kyle Farnsworth was going to be his 9th inning guy. I don’t know if that would have been the case if they decided Mariano was not going to be used or if the score would have dictated that move. Either way I agree, Kyle Farnsworth is definitely not the “8th inning” guy.

    • BigBlueAL

      If he was gonna trust Farnsworth in the 9th inning tonight, then i assume unfortunately we will be seeing him again in the 8th inning soon. I still say the 8th and 9th inning guy tonight shouldve been Wang.

      • steve (different one)

        i didn’t see the game, but i can understand not wanting to push Wang. he’s been awful for weeks and you really want him to leave the game with the lead and a good feeling.

        it’s one of those things that might not be the best move strategically, but something a manager has to have a feel for. these are real people playing the game, and there is that mental aspect to it.

        i am sure Wang’s confidence has been shaken the last few weeks.

  • Joltin’ Joe

    Is it just me or does it seem like 45 innings (for Melancon) is a lot at this point? I can’t imagine they’d let him throw 80 between Majors and minors…

    • Steve S

      it is a lot, i dont really know how they can call him up in August. Even Joba managed to throw twenty plus innings last year on his regimen. Even assuming they can manage to keep him at 15 innings over the next month and a half, it would still put him on pace for righty and that wouldnt even take into account post season if they make it. I think the reality is Cox this year and Melancon next.

  • stuart

    Betemit is a terrible fielder.. tell Girardi that was not a bad bounce.. Betemit was not man enough to get his body in front of that ball…

    they need to make some changes; adios Moeller(good 3rd string catcher but not necessary, hope he winds up in SWB) and get rid of Latroy add Gardner and Melancon… Gardner add speed off bench for interleague games…Hawkins just sucks…

    try the young guys!!!!!!!!!More of them…

  • http://www.thebronxzoo.wordpress.com iYankees

    hey guys, i believe it was john flaherty (sp) who said during the broadcast that kyle farnsworth was unavailable due to either some tenderness in his bicep or bicep tendinitis (one or the other). i’m not sure which of those was said, exactly, but i know one of them was the reason as to why he did not pitch in tonight’s game. also, that ball to betemit was DEFINITELY fieldable. even the oakland announcers laughed when cust was awarded a hit.

  • Nefarious jackson

    Not part of this thread, but sounds like Garrison Lassiter signing is gonna get done since the Yanks drafted him knowing in advance what it was going to take:

    http://www2.journalnow.com/con…offers-/?sports

    • TurnTwo

      link doesnt work…

    • steve (different one)

      that’s a big time signing. awesome.

  • Nefarious jackson

    sorry, link didn’t work…

    article in Winston-Salem journal today– interview with Garrison’s dad saying they(the family) put out a number it would take for him to sign, and the Yanks were the only team who were comfortable with it and that’s why they were able to wait until the 27th pick to get a first day of draft type talent

  • Rich

    I wonder if the Braves would give up anything (almost) decent for Farnsworth?

    • TurnTwo

      they wanted him last year, and there are still in the NL East/WC chase currently.

      i wouldnt imagine youd get much back though, unless you want to make it part of a bit bigger package…

      maybe Farnsworth and IPK/another young upside arm for Jason Heyward, or another one of their top 3 OF prospects?

      • Mark B

        The Braves are a bad trading partner for the Yanks….the Yanks need pitching (starting and set-up) and a back-up first baseman who can possibly take over next year. The Braves offer neither. Mark Texieria would look good in a Yankee uniform next year though, but is untradeable now given he is months away from free agency and not worth trading for.

        Tha Yanks have enough outfielders under contract (Cabera, Matsui & Damon) and prospects cooming along (A Jax, Brett Gardner) to make this not a position of need.

        • mustang

          I still say that the Pirates are the best fit with Nady and those two lefties Marte and Garbow. But I don’t know what they would want.

          • Mark B

            Totally agree….that would be a great move, though given how Nady is arguably their best hitter now, they would probably want us to back up the Brink’s truck

          • mustang

            Garbow (29 years old), Nady ( also 29), and Marte ( is 33) all are locked until 2010. Garbow and Nady Arb. Eligible in 2009 and Marte is making 6 million in 2009.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

              You’re talking about Xavier Nady who isn’t that good and has an ankle injury. Pass.

              • mustang

                He plays first and the outfield well enough for part time use and he is batting .319- 9 HR- 46 RBI.
                Or would you rather have Shelley “Oh! my God why is playing first” Duncan?

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

                  Let’s see.

                  Shelley Duncan hasn’t played in a while. It’s not really that much of an issue, and considering that Giambi hasn’t been that terrible and is hitting, why not just stick with him?

                  Xavier Nady’s stats sure look good right now, but you’re facing a major sample size issue. His career numbers aren’t that stellar, and the Yanks would be buying high on someone who is barely above average for his career. That’s a bad baseball move.

                • mustang

                  “Xavier Nady’s stats sure look good right now, but you’re facing a major sample size issue.”

                  I could have said the same thing of Hughes and IPK at the beginning of season. How do you know if they are buying high we don’t know what the Pirates want yet.

                  I swear it’s like people just want to make this whole season into one big experiment forget actually trying to win something.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

                  It’s Xavier Nady. You really think some fifth OF/back-up first baseman is really going to be the difference to winning and not? That’s flat-out stupid. No offense.

                • mustang

                  None taken. So you come up with a solution and I don’t mean some kid in AAA with a .300 avg. and potential. I mean a good ML solution that can put some wins on the scoreboard.

                  PS. If somehow I came of rude to you or any of your guys I did not mean to sometimes exchanges can get heated, but I always respect your work.

                • mustang

                  By the way at the time I did not think much of pick-up guys like a used up Dwight Gooden, Graeme Lloyd, a drug out Darryl Strawberry, Mariano Duncan, Charlie Hayes, and a over the hill Cecil Fielder. Yet that worked out just find.

              • Mark B

                Isn’t that good compared to whom? I mean, he’s a starter now and would become a fourth outfielder and possibly a back-up first baseman on a team that has deficiences in both areas. Outisde of Ty Wigginton, not sure who else out there who is available you think is better.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

                  Again, you’re not going to buy high on someone who you want to be a fourth outfielder and back-up first baseman. The Yanks already have four outfielders; they don’t need another.

                  And I wouldn’t take Wigginton either. That was one of Joel Sherman’s stupid suggestions in that idiotic post he wrote. Why are we looking to upgrade something that, right now, isn’t a problem?

                • Mark B

                  Ben, I totally disagree. Our biggest weaknesses right now are 1) starting pitching; 2) bullpen set-up and 3) and reliable right-handed 4th outfilder and 1B with some pop (not Melky as some would suggest).

                  As it seems we are going to correct #’s 1 & 2 from within and by waiting for Wang and Pettitte to rebound, we need to address #3 if we are going to prepare for a playoff run. We have already seen that we cannot correct this from within as Duncan has failed and there is no one else that fits that mold, outside of Jason Lane. A move to trade for a Wigginton or Nady won’t put us over the top, but would be a step in the right direction.

                  If we stand pat and think our current squad is adequate, we are doomed to miss the playoffs as this team is nothing more than a .500 ballclub and using that mentality, we should just become sellers at the trading deadline.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

                  Xavier Nady and Ty Wigginton are simply not impact players that are going to push the team anywhere close to playoff contention. What will push the team closer to playoff contention is offense from Derek Jeter and Melky (and, to a lesser extent, Robinson Cano) as well as better pitching from their front-line starters. Buying on Nady and Wigginton now is a bad baseball move, more so considering that Jason Lane deserves a shot first.

                  As far as being a .500 club, the Yanks are 13-8 over their last 21 games. That’s an 100-win team over 162 games. If they can keep up that pace for the rest of the year, that’s fine with me.

                • Mark B

                  I will agree with you on not being impact players, though it seems to me your philosophy is to just have us stick with the bullets we have. While we do have a good record the past few weeks, you have to remember, we have been playing the doormat teams of the AL along the way (Oakland is not a doormat, but was assumed to be one in the pre-season and could still become one). Let’s not forget that.

                  Picking up a guy like Wigginton could prove to be invaluable if Giambi gets hurt, which he has been prome to do in the past which his roid-tainted frame. Taht is simply Cashman needs to be careful with as Wilson Betemit is not an adequate every-day first baseman.

                  It seems to me that too many Yankee fans think this season will be saved once Hughes and IPK come back healthy, we call up a few more young arms in the bullpen and we somehow get Brett Gardner in the line-up. I see that happening in’09 or ’10 but not this year. I hate to say, but we need more help than they can give this year…..

                • mustang

                  You made some great points here and don’t hate to say it, because it’s true. I know in the past the Yankees have given away there future to fix the present. But now, especially here, it seems like all the answers are down in the farm. The solution is probably somewhere in the middle. I still say to look at the championship teams from 1996 and on and see how they were made.

            • question mark

              we also know how well acquiring relievers mid-season usually works. let’s get off the fantasy here. our best move with the bullpen may be to stand put.

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos

                Agreed. Let’s trade Melky for Eric Gagne. Absolutely no downside to that deal…

    • mustang

      Cashman has held on to him for 3 years what makes you think he would trade him now.

      • TurnTwo

        less salary to swallow when you finally make the move?

        • mustang

          Maybe. But as crazy as this sounds with the state of that bull pen unless they get a good ML replacement they need him for the 6th or 7th.

          Did I just say that I need more sleep.
          LOL

      • steve (different one)

        i don’t think he “held” onto Farnsworth for 3 years. he was basically untradable at this point last year.

        the Braves offered the Yankees Bob Wickman, who was just as bad as Farnsworth, on the condition that the Yankees pay BOTH salaries.

        so, they were willing to take Farns for free if the Yankees were willing to take on their own albatross.

        i would have kept him too.

        • mustang

          Cashman has admitted to having many offers for Farnsworth throughout his stay yet he has refused to trade him.

          • steve (different one)

            i’ll take your word for it then, but i don’t see how he was ever offered anything worthwhile.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

            The one last year was Bob Wickman for Farnsworth, with us eating Kyle’s entire salary. So yeah, I’d pass on that, too.

            • mustang

              Agree.

  • Mark B

    With Duncan playing his way out of the line-up, it seems like getting a good right-handed 1B who can field and have a little pop in his bat is of utmost importantance now…..I don’t see how the Yankees are a better team by playing a career middle infielder like Wilson Betemit at 1B……Ty Wigginton, though would be a great fit, assuming the Astros don’t want an arm and leg for him.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    My building lost power. 1920 called and wants its electrical system back.

    Thanks for the recap. I’m sorry I missed the game.

  • mustang

    Veras was so lucky last night he should buy a lottery ticket today. He missed Posada’s glove almost every time how he made through that Chavez at bat without getting hit I don’t know.

    • TurnTwo

      seems to be a bonus for those guys who can amp up their fastball in the 95-97 range… you can make mistakes and still not automatically get burned.

      • mustang

        95-97 fastball or not Chavez was on those pitches I was happy to see him walk.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Almost every time?

      Funny thing is that when Kenny Singleton said that exact same line last night and YES showed a replay, the ball hit Posada’s glove exactly where he wanted it. Perhaps just parroting the YES guys isn’t the best way to analyze the game ;)

      • mustang

        Yeah, OK
        How about watching the guy pitch and on replay I don’t know what game you were watching.
        How many times did Posada set outside only to move his glove back inside?
        And that wild pitch that Posada saved.
        Yes, Veras was on the money

        • mustang

          And I had another guy with me saying the same thing we had no volume at work.
          So much for your “parroting the YES guys isn’t the best way to analyze the game”, but nice line.

          • Yanks Fan in NY

            Considering how much time and effort the three guys here put into this site, you’re quite rude. I just went back and watched the 8th inning via MLB.tv, and that pitch to Chavez was actually one of the better ones Veras made. You can say he was effectively wild last night; you can’t say he pitched Chavez all that poorly. I’m sure that’s when Ben means when he urges you to actually think on your own for a second. It’s tall order, I know.

            • mustang

              Wow. A personal shot how original.
              I did think for myself I never heard what Kenny Singleton said, but some how people can now read minds.
              Maybe “he was effectively wild last night” is the answer I guess it all depends how you see it.
              And yes these guys here do a great job if I didn’t think so I would not be here so often. However, if your going to take a shot then expect an answer I never been the type to just follow the herd.

  • Glen L

    I personally think RAB needs to keep riding Melky all year long

    RAB mentions all of Melky’s shortcomings nonstop in the offseason -> Melky starts the season like a bat outta hell

    RAB softens on Melky during/after great start -> Melky starts to blow

    RAB puts up a post debating Melky v. Gardner, heated discussion ensues -> Melky hits his first homer in over a month

    conclusion – Melky stalks RAB and uses it as inspiration!

    Melky, if you’re reading this, you still suck! :)

    • mustang

      That’s funny.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Same thing happened with Mientkiewicz last year.

  • Axl

    Do you think they may do a Jose Veras/Edwar Ramirez platoon in the 8th? Veras against righties and Ramirez against lefties? Seeing how we only have 1 lefty pitcher on our roster (Pettitte)…and Edwar has been pretty decent with that changeup against lefties.

    Ironic how we have almost no lefty pitchers on the roster…and not that many (good) righty hitters…trade time?

    • question mark

      I think Veras has done a good enough job, but that it’s probably even better to keep the hot hand in there. I have no problem with an 8th inning “rotation” of sorts. Having that set 8th inning closer-like guy is a luxury, but not a neccesity.

      There’s a hell of a lot of “no-name” bullpens out there that get the job done, and a lot of bullpen “names” that are anything but reliable.

  • Axl

    I read somewhere that Huston Street could be available…and he’d be a great option for an 8th inning guy.
    I heard he won’t be that expensive because Beane doesn’t value closers nearly as much…and Street will be making a lot more money when he hits free agency…an amount Beane won’t want to pay up.
    These other guys like Salomon Torres and Brian Fuentes couldn’t hurt…but I don’t see them as anything special. All of these guys have experience closing…but Street has done so already in the AL and won the Rookie of the Year because of it…beating out…Robinson Cano.

    • Glen L

      i really doubt Street would come cheaply at all … while Beane himself may not value closers as highly as the market, there’s no reason to accept less than what the trade market could bear for a reliever of Street’s quality/pedigree

  • E-ROC

    I thought Farnsdearth had biceps soreness and that was the reason why he hasn’t been used lately. I do think Veras is the 8th inning guy. He is getting the job done.

    Is Hawkins’s suspension over? Rosenthal said the Yanks are trying desperately to move him. Good luck with that one.

  • Glen L

    why do we need a designated “8th inning guy” and what happened to Girardi’s statement that the bullpen guys have to be ready to pitch in any situation?

    pigeon-holing relievers does not make a whole lot of sense, just use your best guys in the highest leverage situations

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos

    “The Yanks came out of the strong, scoring two runs…”

    “…following just the fifth fly-ball out he would enduce all night…”

    “The sinker balls specialist had gotten just four double plays…”

    ——————–

    Hmm… methinks that Lex is a bit disgruntled at being removed from the masthead. BRING BACK LEX!!!

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Just e-mail us if you notice a typo. Game posts written at 1:30 a.m. on a work night aren’t going to be perfect.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        stop covering it up like Scooter Libby… this is a travesty! BRING BACK LEX! BRING BACK LEX!

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          Dude, she didn’t do anything!

          I do like your Scooter Libby reference however.