This game was not as close as the 7-5 score indicates

Trenton starts the year off with a loss
Breaking down Wang with Pitch f/x

Orioles 7, Yankees 5
What is this nerdy graph?

Holy crap, this team is frustrating. They were bound to play like this at one point or another in the season, but why did it have to come at the start? It makes the whole thing so damned agonizing. You can only tell yourself “it’s just a slump” so many times before you get sick of hearing it.

The game started off well enough. Derek Jeter had another exemplary leadoff at bat, walking on six pitches. Things were looking good for a second when Damon ripped one to right, but it was too close to Markakis. After Teixeira hit the first of many Yankees pop outs and Hideki Matsui grounded out, the only enthusiasm left was for Chien-Ming Wang

…which evaporated pretty quickly. It was apparent right from the start that CMW didn’t have it, and when CMW doesn’t have it things get ugly. It started with a double from Adam Jones — on what I didn’t think was all that bad a pitch — and continued with belt-high pitches to Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff, both also resulting in doubles. After Melvin Mora hit one Pasta Diving Ransom, Wang finally retired the side. Two and two-thirds innings later, Wang left the game having allowed seven runs.

Wang didn’t look bad in the second inning. He left one up in the zone to Felix Pie and he hit it much further than I had figured, but he kept the ball down to Zaun and Izturis, fooling us into thinking he’d settled down. But a shaky third inning turned into a disastrous fourth inning and Edwar had to finish the job. Thankfully, the bullpen took care of it from there, but the offense wasn’t up to the task.

The Yanks had a chance to do some damage against Uehara from the get go, but let him off the hook by swinging at too many pitches out of the zone. Tex popped up in the first on ball four, and Matsui swung at a number of pitches out of the zone before grounding out. Most of the guys just weren’t having good at bats. Robinson Cano, 2 for 4 with three good ABs; Jorge Posada, 1 for 4 with a double; and Derek Jeter, 2 for 4 with a walk and a homer, were notable exceptions.

What really irks me is that Uehara didn’t look that impressive. He had some good movement on pitches, but he was all over the place. He didn’t strike out anyone, and again he should have issued more than one walk. The Yanks just wouldn’t let him. They came around with some life in the ninth, but this wasn’t to be another April 19, 2007.

On the WPA side, Wang was obviously the goat. Hideki Matsui and Brett Gardner brought down the offense, which makes sense because it seemed like Jeter or Jorge lead off every inning. Cody Ransom’s double, the biggest WPA swing in the game, kept him atop the Yanks leader board. Jeter, Cano, and Nick Swisher‘s walk were the only other Yankees in the black.

On a parting note, I feel bad for Jorge Posada. What should have been a fairly easy pop out turned into an adventure at the on-deck circle. On one hand he has to keep his eye on the ball, or else it might hit him on the schnoz. On the other hand he has to watch his step, or else he might trip over the donuts or pine tar rag. He did all he could; there just wasn’t a good chance he was catching that ball.

Thankfully, we’ll do this again at 1:00 today. A.J. makes his Yanks debut, and hopefully the lineup can score early and often against the worst rotation in the league’s third best pitcher.

Trenton starts the year off with a loss
Breaking down Wang with Pitch f/x
  • anonymous


    • Benjamin Kabak

      Yup. You got it, anonymous. In fact, we’re closing up shop here, and the Yanks are canceling the season. It’s all over.

      • anonymous

        Good, Im glad.

  • Infamous

    But the bullpen is terrible without Joba in the eighth!!!!!

    • anonymous

      The worst part of all this is Cano is actually looking good. We are wasting good Cano on nothing.

      • Infamous

        I am excited by Cano’s approach at the plate so far. He is showing better patience and discipline. You know hes going good when he took that outside pitch the other way for a sharp single. If he wasnt he would have pulled that pitch weakly to the second basemen

        • Drew

          fo sho. If his early discipline is an indication of success in working with Long, he’s in for a “Cano” season. Last year was a fluke.

  • Benjamin Kabak

    Fun Fact of the Day: With Chien-Ming Wang’s 0 K performance tonight, the Yankees have set a new first. Never before in the history of the franchise has the team gone two games to start the season without their starting pitchers recording any strike outs.

    No pressure tomorrow, A.J. No pressure.

    • anonymous

      suck (s?k) v.intr.

      5. (baseball) to never before in the history of a team franchise go two games to start the season without their starting pitchers recording any strike outs.

    • Mike Axisa

      I’m pretty confident that AJ will strike someone, anyone out tomorrow.

      • Joey

        Adam freakin’ Jones!

  • Pete

    Baltimore always give us fits. I’m not worried.

    A tad disgusted, but not worried.

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      If the Yanks lost two games in the middle of the season due to back to back poor starts, would it be a big deal?

      No, and neither is this.

  • 65hughes

    time to recall phil hughes (just kidding)

  • Chris

    Could you imagine if there were baseball blogs in 1998? With the amount of overreaction I see about the 0-2 start, I can only imagine what it would have been like after the 1-4 start that year.

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      Can you imagine what it was like when NYC had EIGHT daily newspapers in the 40’s and 50’s? Or when all sports talk radio debuted in 1986?

      Par for the course.

  • Drew

    Man, it’s so damn early. I already get this feeling towards certain players but I must bite my tongue considering we’re a whole, uh, two games in. Hopefully the select few I have began to grow tired of(yea, I know already) will prove that I am an ass and can derive nothing from the first series.
    All we can hope is we pick it up tomorrow and begin winning series.
    FYI, I’m still high on Ransom. I think he gives good AB’s. In the first game he watched some close calls go for strikes but he is the last of my worries, considering it’s the other guys that are the “real” starters.

  • Rich

    Looking at the bright side, I’m really encouraged by the starts of Jeter, Damon, Cano, and even Posada when you factor in his arm strength.

    I still think they need Swisher’s plate discipline, especially with the offense struggling, but I digress..

    • Drew

      I agree mostly. All we can do is hope Nady explodes for one of those 6 (or was it 8) rbi games he had against the angels last year.

      • Drew

        oh shit, that was suppose to be 8..) not 8)

      • Rich

        I’m still rooting for Nady (and Ransom and every other Yankee), and I will as long as they are Yankees.

  • Drew

    The best part of tonight was watching Kruk after the game on BBtonight. “The Yankees aren’t as good as everyone thinks they are.”
    Who the hell is everyone? I know it’s not ESPN. So if he’s talking directly to Yankee fans, why the hell would we listen to that mullet wearing, cheese steak scoffing idiot’s ass?

    • Benjamin Kabak

      Here’s where the logic falls apart.

      For ESPN’s purposes, nearly “everyone” picked the Yankees to finish in third. So John Kruk is telling us that, after two games of the season, he can proclaim that the Yankees are not even a third-place team. I will forever wonder why ESPN can’t hire guys who are not obese buffoons.

      • anonymous

        Kruk again fails at everything. In an attempt to slight the Yankees he only compliments the team and Alex its centerpiece. He is correct this team right now is not as good as everyone thought. In a couple weeks? It is as good as everyone thought.

        • dkidd

          true story: the first time john kruk went to chicago, he looked at lake michigan and said “which ocean is that? the mediterranean?”

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Kruk again fails at everything.

          Actually, he’s pretty awesome at eating sandwiches.

  • Shamik

    I totally agree…we are wasting good Cano on losses. AJ has to be better than CC and Wang tomorrow.

  • Moose Man

    I personally was never in love with Wang.

    Despite his 19 wins the past 2 (full) seasons, I think we can all agree that those were pretty soft wins. Seemed to me Wanger was more of a “stats” guy than a big-time picther like his record suggested. According to his record, Wang should be one of the best pitchers in baseball. In reality, he’s not even close. Despite Wang’s ability to rack up a ton of under-the-radar wins, its safe to say he is highly overrated.

    In the end, I will NEVER trust a sinkerballer…ever. All it takes is there pitch to be off 4-6 inches and they get fuckin hammered. Sorry, but I’d rather take my chances with a picther who can rely on more than ONE “do or die” pitch.

    I mean seriously, can anyone actually have faith in Wang when every start is totally dependable on how much his pitches sink???

    And for anyone who is confused as to who is the number 2 pitcher on this team, its safe to say our number 2 pitcher is throwing tomorrow…thank god.

    • Drew

      We can all agree they were “soft” wins? Nah, sorry dude your way off. I’m not everyone, but I know there are a lot that agree with me. Wang is a horse and can help get us to the playoffs every year we have him healthy, if that’s “soft,” sign me up.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      I think this is a bit of an extreme reaction to one start, but it’s certainly indicative of why the Yanks don’t consider Wang to be a true ace. I wrote about that very same topic a few weeks ago.

      • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

        You could see them trading Wang for a need down the road. Where the Yanks get to a point (in a few years) where they would have in house options they like better with Hughes, Brackman, Betances, etc. Or maybe with a free agent signing or trade along the way. At that point, they would have the 1-5 rotation slots filled with solid pitchers and be looking to upgrade in quality.

        Another possibility is that they drop Wang in the rotation as Joba and others mature. Wang looks weak as your #2. He looks amazing as your #4 or #5. But that’s really just perception and/or bookkeeping. We have that rotation right now if everyone performs.

        • Johnny

          Who cares what number starter he is in the regular season???

          I never understood this infatuation with labeling starters. Starters 1 thru 4 get the same amount of starts.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve says:
            April 9th, 2009 at 7:52 am

            …Wang looks weak as your #2. He looks amazing as your #4 or #5. But that’s really just perception and/or bookkeeping…

    • Mike Axisa

      I don’t think they were all soft wins, but I do agree that I don’t consider him an ace. But you have to give the man his due, his pitched very well in the AL East the last couple of years, certainly no easy task.

      He just doesn’t miss enough bats for me to like him anymore than a number two/good number three.

      • Drew

        He’s working on it though. He has improved his K total greatly since his first season where he was strictly a sinker baller. He has worked on the slider, a straighter fast ball, and even an off-speed change dealy. We all knew wanted him to be an ace originally but we’ve seen our confidence in him diminish after some awful post season games. He still has the potential to win a Cy-young… in my opinion one of these years he’ll explode with 22- 23 wins. Hopefully it’s this year.

        • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

          Kevin Brown started out as a sinkerballer with mixed results and low SO Rates. He added a splitter (and some drugs meant for horses) and became a top pitcher.

          Wang has a splitter right now (and a slider, curve), its just not that great. He features the 2 seamer because its his best pitch. But you never know. Some guys find a grip that works for them and VOILA! You have a whole new pitcher.

    • Ed

      In the end, I will NEVER trust a sinkerballer…ever. All it takes is there pitch to be off 4-6 inches and they get fuckin hammered.

      That’s true about all pitchers though. If you’re consistently missing your target by 4-6 inches, you’re going to get destroyed. See CC on opening day – that’s what happens when a pitcher can’t locate his fastball.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Seemed to me Wanger was more of a “stats” guy than a big-time picther like his record suggested.

      Yup. All those innings pitched and sub-4 ERA’s and FIP’s and all those sub 1.400 WHIP’s and all those low BB/9 rates and low BABIP induced… stats. He’s just like ARod, a damn stat compliler.

      All of that shit was just to benefit him, none of it ever helped this team win actual games.


    • Johnny

      You must’ve thought Orel Hershiser was lousy while pitching a record 59 straight scoreless innings primarily b/c of his sinker…

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Just “stats”.

        Worthless and selfish.

  • Rich

    This except from Kepner’s article nutshells it:

    …[Wang] said he was rushing his delivery, letting his arm drag behind him, which caused his sinker to flatten.


    “You’ve got a fastball pitcher that can’t throw a strike with his fastball and you’ve got a sinkerball pitcher that leaves his sinker up,” Posada said. “There’s not a whole game plan. You try to get him to throw changeups and get on top of the baseball, but two nights in a row, we haven’t executed.”

    • Benjamin Kabak

      I like using nutshells as a verb. Creative. A+

      • Rich

        It’s a vestige from law school.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I do too. Well done.

        Pawlikowski: Hey, Ben, what happened with your date last night? You get some?
        Kabak: Hellz yeah, I nutshelled that ho!

        … aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, SCENE!!!

        • Count Zero

          ietc…quite a bit

  • Holden Supertramp

    I’m pretty sure you have to tell people that this graph is via Fangraphs or it’s plagiarizing.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      It’s not plagiarizing; it’s copyright infringement. But there’s a link up there to the Fangraphs page. We’ll be sure to make it explicit in the future.

  • http://BiggityB Bruce

    This kid ‘drew’ is a NY yankee! By the way, Wang will succeed. Best of luck to gardner. Joba shall prevail. And the rest of the pieces will fall into place. Good luck to all of THE yanks! :)

    • http://JoeyJiggs Bobmeng

      Right on

  • BigBlueAL

    I dont care about losing the first 2 games, although my wish/hope of having a 5-1/6-0 opening week considering the opponents (Orioles and Royals) was wishful thinking. I just hope all this stupid talk about how good the Yankees played in Spring Training and how they won their last 10 games of the Spring blah blah blah is put to rest.

    Spring Training means NOTHING!!!! Sorry rant over, but it was just so annoying hearing Michael Kay on opening day reference how good the Yankees looked in Spring Training and ditto some of the writers who thought the Yankees were going to get off to a great start because they looked so good in Spring Training.

    Anyway it sure wouldve been nice to have Alex up in the 9th after Tex instead of Matsui facing Sherrill. I wander if the O’s wouldve even brought in Sherrill in that situation. Granted I know what most of you are thinking, Arod wouldve done same crap as Matsui but still not having him hitting 4th is tough no matter how good Matsui usually is with RISP.

    Must win start for Burnett already, and its only his 1st start of his Yankees career!!!!!

    • anonymous

      Alex was injured last year and it caused him to change his swing. Healthy Alex doesnt fail at the plate.

      • http://BiggityB Bruce

        just last year? lets talk post season vs regular season

        great fan of him…but his mentality changes after the regular season

        • Drew

          eh.. Moot. A few bad series means nothing when the scope of his career is ridiculous. Had Mo-Money finished in ’04 A-rod isn’t a scape-goat but the G.O.A.T.

    • Drew

      How can you say ST means nothing when it can dictate whether a player makes a team or not. Also, it’s not a must win for Burnett. It’s a situation where we need a decent start. If the offense sucks and we can’t get a guy in from third with no outs it’s not on Burnett.
      You can “wander” if the O’s would’ve brought their closer in to face arguably the best player of our generation but I’d assume they’d have gone for the best pitcher they had available in that situation.

      • BigBlueAL

        I was obviously kidding about Burnett having a must-win start. Spring Training is completely meaningless when it comes to a team’s record which is what I was referring to. Although many times, if not all the times, it is completely meaningless when it comes to individual stats too.

    • Sam P.

      The Yanks better start winning before Mike Lupica writes a negative article about the team! And A-Rod too, because this is all on him anyway! Aaaaahhh!!!

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Mike Whopica?

  • http://JoeyJiggs Joey J

    Jeter going to have record breaking season

    • http://Bruce Bruce

      hope so

  • Jon g

    Maybe the Yanks starters should read this article about applying the laws of Newtonian Physics to pitching:

    • http://Gibbs Gibbons


  • mk

    hopefully the lineup can score early and often against the worst rotation in the league’s third best pitcher.

    Don’t be so hard on yourselves, at least they didn’t get shutdown by Texas’s rotation

    • jsbrendog


  • RollingWave

    I didn’t see the later few innings of Uehara’s work, but in the first few innings his command was pretty clearly awsome (After the Jeter walk anyway). everything was corner to corner, with a solid and deceptive breaking ball.

    At worest he’s got some serious pitchability. if only we can screw his brains onto Kei Igawa or Ian Kennedy.

    • Spaceman.Spiff

      Is that like drinkability?

  • KelvinPHP

    i’m going to make a bold prediction that AJ would strike out more batters in his first start than the whole staff did in the first two games.

  • Mike Pop

    The Yanks had a chance to do some damage against Uehara from the get go, but let him off the hook by swinging at too many pitches out of the zone.

    They were who we thought they were, but we let em off the hook!!!

    Go Yanks…and do your thing for me A.J.!!

  • jb

    I would just like to add that I fully believe Tex’s popout in the first is Jeter/Girardi’s fault. Jeter should not have been running in the first inning since he is avg to below at stealing now. Tex did the right thing in trying to protect against 35 year old legs and swung at ball four resulting in the pop up and self righteous boo’ing from the Orioles fans. I was fine with people boo’ing A-rod cuase you figure they are just jealous, but are the Yanks trying to assemble a team more hated then the gov’t of Germany circa 1915-1950? Lets see if Ben’s [I think it was him?] theory of scoring in the last ABs but still losing leads to a decisive win today.

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      But that makes no sense. If Teixeira had let ball four go by, there would have been no play on Jeter.

      And that was my theory, stolen from Paul O’Neill.

  • Grant

    Wang is as overrated as a pitcher gets. They should have sold high on him a year ago.

    To think they passed on Johan for a collection of Kennedy, Hughes, Wang and Melky.

    • KelvinPHP

      Oh we go again.. I’ll just say this,

      I rather take CC-Wang-Hughes-IPK-Tex-AJ, than

      Johan-(maybe)Aj-CC OR Tex-and some other pitchers that most likely wont give the innings that Wang gives, and the potential that Hughes have.

      I still think Wang wins atleast 15 games this year. He’s no ace, I agree, but he is a very good middle of the rotation pitcher.

    • jsbrendog

      its always raining in grant/bo’s world.

      but teh yohan is teh greadest evar!!!111!!

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
  • Yankees < Dog Crap

    Thank you Grant. Finally a voice of reason on here.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      It is so fitting that the two of you agree.

      You’ve finally found your soulmate, Grantbo. The Cheney to your Bush.

  • Matt

    Crappy game. I’m frustrated they’ve wasted two 5 run performances with awful pitching. This obviously isn’t an indication of the team as a whole, but if a full turn through the rotation comes and goes and the pitching hasn’t at least started to right itself, I’ll get worried.

  • Axl


    I understand it’s only the 2nd game of the season…but we’ve started like this for a few years now…digging a hole and jumping in…and then trying to climb out. It’s only the first two games of the season…but had we not started in such bad slumps the past few years…perhaps we would have won the division in 07 and at least made the playoffs in 08. We went .500…43-43 in 2007 because we started so slow. Going 9-14 in April and 13-15 in May combining for a nice 22-29 start in the first 2 months of the season. We were 14.5 games back on May 29th!!! Then of course even going 51-25 in the second half was incredible…but imagine how everything would have turned out had we started off better and ended the 1st half with even 4 more wins above .500?? We would have finished in 1st place…and WE would have been beating up on the injury riddled Angels in the 1st round instead of the Indians and who knows what would have happened from there.

    My point is, why do we start slow every year now? I don’t get it. We just romped people in Spring Training…and yes I know it’s Spring Training…but it’s almost like the past couple years we were in the playoffs too…we’d do amazing down the stretch…and then all of the sudden it’s the playoffs so everything is different and nobody can hit or pitch anymore.

    And it doesn’t help that we’ve started slow as a team the past few years and then we sign 2 high dollar prospects (who I’m glad we got just saying…) who also have a long history of starting slow as well.

    So how do you fix this problem?? Why is it happening?? I don’t get it. And we’re not just barely losing games right now…we’re getting absolutely demolished…

    A combined ZERO strike outs and EIGHT walks from our 2 “Ace” starters. 13 earned runs in 8 total innings. And our bullpen hasn’t looked too swift either…although last night they looked a tad better. On Monday it looked as though we shouldn’t even be a baseball team.

    Yes I know we started 0-2 in 1998 and ended up winning 114 games and that’s great. My point is to just cut the horseshit and stop playing like a bunch of dipshits at the beginning so we even have to worry about climbing out of a hole over and over again. We shouldn’t have to!! It’s embarrassing and entirely unnecessary.

    Go ahead, tear this post apart with the rose colored glasses on. I’m not saying we can’t turn it around…I just don’t understand why it always has to happen in the first place.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      The 1998 Yankees (the team that won 125 games in the regular season and postseason combined) started off the season 1-4.

      They were outscored 15-36 in those games. All of their stud starting pitchers struggled.

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