Apr
14

What’s wrong with Chien-Ming Wang?

By

The Yanks are buried 2.5 games back of the first place Blue Jays with only 155 games left to play (/hyperbole), but perhaps the biggest problem facing them right now is Chien-Ming Wang. The incumbent ace has been absolutely brutal in his two starts this year, allowing (gulp) 21 baserunners and 15 earned runs in just four and two-third innings pitched. That makes Sidney Ponson look like Roy frickin’ Halladay. The more troubling part is how Wang just doesn’t look like himself at all; his pitches are all up in the zone, his velocity is down, and his sinker isn’t sinking.

This might not be something that just started last week either. Wang had a 1.56 WHIP and a 6.00 ERA in his previous six starts before lisfrancing his foot last summer, suggesting that something might have been wrong going back as far as last year. Of course that ten month layoff doesn’t help any, but we can still look at the data to see if we can find anything. Wang did have a good but not great Spring Training (21.2 IP, 25 H, 16 R, 10 ER, 4 BB, 10 K, 3 HR), however no one in their right mind would use Spring Training stats to evaluate anything, especially for a player with a signficant track record.

Let’s compare three versions of Chien-Ming Wang using Pitch f/x:

  1. Pre-May 18th, 2008: This was the light’s out CMW last year, when he had a 2.90 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP through his first nine starts and 59 IP.
  2. Post-May 18th, 2008: Wang had his first of a series of clunkers on May 18th last year, which marks the point of that 6.00 ERA/1.56 WHIP era I mentioned earlier. I fail at labeling, but this version includes his May 18th start.
  3. 2009: This year’s pair of starts, i.e. the really, really crappy version of CMW.

I’m going to focus on Wang’s two main pitches in this analysis: his sinking fastball and slider. He’s also been known to throw changeups, splitters, and even the occasional curveball, but because he throws them so rarely it’s not worth the time and effort to take a deeper look at them. I’m going to start with the pitch trajectories as always, and to make life easier I gave fastballs and sliders their own individual graphs. Make sure you remember to click each graph for a larger, squinting at a computer screen has to be bad for your eyes.

Fun starts after the jump.

Bird's Eye View, Fastballs

Bird's Eye View, Slider

Looking at the fastballs first, you can see that the horizontal release point of the three versions are different, but the pitches typically end up at the same spot. That means that the post-May 18th fastball has less movement than the pre-May 18th version, and the 2009 version has even less movement than that. That’s not good, Wang’s a guy who needs his fastball to dart and dive and all that jazz. You can also see that his ’09 slider isn’t moving as much as the ’08 versions.

Now, the look as if you were standing at first base:

First Base View, Fastballs

First Base View, Slider

This view shows is that Wang is releasing both pitches from a higher spot this year than he did last. The fastball still has vertical drop, but it’s not moving horizontally as much, which you can see in the bird’s eye look. Let’s take a look from the catcher’s view:

Catcher's View, fastball

Catcher's View, Sliders

More than anything, this view just gives you a different look at the above. His pitches are still moving vertically in a way similar to last year, but they definitely don’t have the same kind of side-to-side movement. To further drive home that point:

Movement

I haven’t posted one of these movement plots on RAB yet, so let me explain. It’s simple, don’t worry. The x-axis shows the horizontal movement of the pitch with 0 meaning it’s straight as an arrow. A negative value means the pitch moves in on righties, a positive value means it moves in on lefties. The y-axis is the vertical movement of the pitch compared to a ball thrown with zero spin. Fastballs have big numbers because they have more carry on them then this mythical zero rotation pitch, but breaking balls have small numbers because they move more. Curveballs are usually in the negatives, as are super elite sliders (think Brad Lidge). The units in this graph are inches.

So, from this you can see that his fastball still has the same kind of vertical movement as last year, but it’s just not riding as hard horizontally. The slider’s dropping a bit more but not moving as much horizontally as last year. All of this is consistent with everything presented above. These trajectory and movement plots are fun to look at, but all they really show are results, the results of his pitching motion, and apparently that’s the problem. From Pete Abe:

Wang seemed stunned. He said the issue was where he released the ball, which was off to the side instead of over the top. A sinkerball pitcher wants to stand tall on the mound and throw the ball on a downward plane. Otherwise the ball floats over the strike zone and you see what happens.

That sounds good and make sense, but the data doesn’t agree. Here’s a look at Wang’s release points:

Release Points, Fastballs

Release Points, Sliders

If you haven’t seen these before, make sure you read RAB more often the point 0,0 is the center of the front of home plate, so the x-axis shows you how far away from the middle of the plate you are, and the y-axis shows you how far you are above the ground. Now, there’s a couple things going on here. First of all, those post-May 18th points that are mixed in with the pre-May 18th points are scattered over several starts. It’s not like all those pitches came from one or two starts, they’re spread out over all six starts. Secondly, it’s very likely that the difference in the general horizontal location of the pitches is caused by Wang move more towards the first base side of the rubber, but we’re focusing on the vertical location since Wang said he wanted to come more over the top.

In general, Wang’s throwing the ball from a spot about six inches higher this year than he did last year, no matter if you consider the good ’08 Wang or the bad ’08 Wang. That contradicts what he said after the game, but that doesn’t mean he’s lying or the data’s wrong. It’s entirely possible that he wants to release the ball from an even higher spot than he currently is, but I have to ask why? I mean, if throwing it from a slightly lower slot worked last year, why change it? I’m no pitching coach or pitching mechanics expert, so I won’t even attempt to answer those questions. All I do know is that for some reason Wang is releasing the ball from a higher spot than last year and yet he still wants to come even more over the top.

Finally, lets take a look at his velocity, because it’s definitely been down this year.

Fastball Velocity

That graphs encompassed a ton of pitches, 1,227 to be exact. Last year he was sitting at 91-93 pretty consistently, except for that one start which was probably a dead arm thing considering it was preceded by a spike in velocity (maybe he was overthrowing in a big start and wore himself down). This year Wang is sitting only 89-91, a small but definitely notable drop. This could be from bad mechanics, a dead arm period, injury, or about a million other things. The team already shot down injury and said it was just a mechanical issue, and I believe them because Wang didn’t appear to be in any obvious pain, he was more disgusted with himself.

I don’t know what’s wrong with Chien-Ming Wang, but whatever it is, it’s causing him to lose movement on his pitches as well as velocity. Maybe it’s just rust from the long injury layoff. Disirregardless, I hope he gets himself straightened out sooner rather than later. The cool part about the ’09 Yanks is that even though CMW is struggling, they can still trot out four quality starters. When’s the last time we could say that?

Categories : Analysis
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime…Swisher for MVP

    That’s a heck of a lot of post to digest.

    Still, a token of optimism: the last pitcher to give up 15 ER in his first two starts of a season was Cone in 1998…who preceded to win 20 games.

    Now, whatever’s wrong with Wang is serious and needs to be fixed, and I do think the foot injury has something to do with it.

    However, his struggles now don’t necessarily mean he’ll be ineffective all year.

    • Chris C.

      Instead of posting 10 graphs and numerous statistics, you could have just said that his foot still hurts.

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

        Instead of commenting on a post three weeks old, you could just fucking go away. See how that works?

  • Chris

    this mythical zero rotation pitch

    It’s called a knuckleball.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

    “Disirregardless” is my new favorite word.

    So what we’re looking at is a one-time ace who relies on his sinker ball but isn’t getting on top of it. He’s losing velocity and movement and is thus throwing 90 mph meatballs. Either he’s injured and he’s adjusting his mechanics or his mechanics are just plain out of whack. I’ll be quite curious to see his next start on Saturday.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I liked it too.

      Given these mechanical issues, perhaps we should add Wang to the office pool of “Whose spot in the rotation will Phil Hughes end up vulturing starts from?”

      Wang: 35%
      Joba: 30%
      Pettitte: 15%
      Burnett: 15%
      CC: 5%
      Swisher: 0%

      • Chris C.

        Vulturing?
        That’s a strange word to use for someone who’s filling in for a guy with a 35 ERA.

  • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pics/hostpics/5e4be77c-8e57-4d7a-8533-add8ed030ad5JerkStore.jpg Slugger27

    u fixed CC, now keep earning that money mr. eiland

  • Zak

    I hope he fixes it, I have to go see him on Saturday. Better get his you know what together.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Better get his you know what together.

      His act? Better his act together?

      • Zak

        To keep it rated PG, yes. lol

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Better get his Wang straightened out.

          • Andy In Sunny Daytona

            Wang needs some Viagra to get straightened out.
            HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, DUCWIDT?
            Wang…….Viagra……..Straighted out….his name is a dysphemism of penis…..anyone….????

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Embedding FTW!

                (that’s what SHE said!)

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

              • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Now you guys are just bragging about your special RAB powers.

                • http://heavysoundsandtheabstracttruth.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/alg_burnett-sabathia-3.jpg Mike Pop

                  I think commenters can do this, no?

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

                  Negative, Mike. Only those of us with admin powers.

                • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Oh I have no idea. Now that I’m thinking about it I kinda hope not, though. That could get pretty tedious.

                • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “Negative, Mike. Only those of us with admin powers.”

                  Phew. Probably for the best.

                • http://heavysoundsandtheabstracttruth.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/alg_burnett-sabathia-3.jpg Mike Pop

                  Oooh, I thought Mike or Joe said in a chat one time that we could post pictures/videos only if we were smart enough and figured out how to do it.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  You remember correctly, it was said.

                  It was wrong.

                • Chris

                  But they’re not allowed to be wrong!

                • http://heavysoundsandtheabstracttruth.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/alg_burnett-sabathia-3.jpg Mike Pop

                  But, but, but, but…….

                  How could they do this to me? I might have to be finished with RAB like Jay CT was done after problems in the fantasy baseball league..

                  arg, damn, bullshit socialists.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

              Wait. I still don’t get it, even after you explained it.

              • Andy In Sunny Daytona

                It’s not that “hard” of a joke to get.

                BBBBAAAAAAHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHA.
                I did it again!!!!!

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime…Swisher for MVP

      I’m going Saturday too. Where you sitting?

      • Zak

        Grandstands. Section 417 Row 2. What about you?

        • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime…Swisher for MVP

          Terrace 312 Row 2

    • A.D.

      Same here

      • Zak

        Really? That’s pretty nuts. Did you get the tix off e-bay too? Got them for 50 each.. had to grab ‘em.

  • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pics/hostpics/5e4be77c-8e57-4d7a-8533-add8ed030ad5JerkStore.jpg Slugger27

    is it unreasonable to conclude he should actually be throwing more sidearm or three quarter? seems to me thats the best way to help the horizontal movement, and the first few graphs indicate thats where he was throwing when he had success

    • Zak

      I think the problem is that he’s actually throwing too much sidearm. He should throw more over the top to get a sinking movement, instead of left to right, ’cause that’s not helping him out at all. Also, I believe his arm’s dragging behind his body a bit, causing him to lose a small bit of velocity. Those are the things I would work on personally, but obviously that’s just me.. I’m not a major league pitcher or even close, lol.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        What Zak said. He’s basically not throwing over the top enough.

        • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pics/hostpics/5e4be77c-8e57-4d7a-8533-add8ed030ad5JerkStore.jpg Slugger27

          im not sure i understand… the first few graphs indicate the good 08 version of wang released the ball closer to 3rd base than the bad 08 version or this years version… am i reading them wrong?

          the catchers view would imply the same thing

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            You’re right, but that change doesn’t necessarily have to be from arm angle. He could have moved more towards the first base side of the pitching rubber.

            • Chris

              Considering the changes in movement on his pitches, it would seem that a change in arm angle would help.

              Also, there are two distinct groups for release point within the post-May 18 set of pitches. Are those different starts, or just random variations?

      • KW

        I think the layoff probably hurt his lower body conditioning, which might be hurting his motion and velocity. As I understand it, he had a fairly significant layoff from the foot injury, which would cause him to lose some of the musculature that can help him generate proper hip rotation and extension, blunting his ability to develop and deliver power to the shoulder, which might be causing this all. Obviously all conjecture.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime…Swisher for MVP

    Tonight’s line up

    Gardner CF
    Jeter SS
    Teixeira 1B
    Swisher LF
    Posada DH
    Cano 2B
    Nady RF
    Pena 3B
    Molina C

    I love the 3-through-7 hitters!

    • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pics/hostpics/5e4be77c-8e57-4d7a-8533-add8ed030ad5JerkStore.jpg Slugger27

      honestly, nothing excites me quite like the guy hitting 8th

      • andrew

        I’m excited to see what he can do… even a diving stop would be nice a change of pace

        • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pics/hostpics/5e4be77c-8e57-4d7a-8533-add8ed030ad5JerkStore.jpg Slugger27

          im excited that his name isnt cody ransom

      • anonymous

        The legend of Ramiro Pena begins tonight.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Derek Jeter, what have you done for me lately?

      And just to play bad cop, this is a completely off-topic post. We’ll have the game thread at 6:30.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime…Swisher for MVP

        If it is your wish, I shall refrain from posting line ups even if they are available, and let you all have all the fun =)

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Easy, make it ON-topic instead.

          Tonight’s line up

          Chien-Ming Gardner CF
          Chien-Ming Jeter SS
          Chien-Ming Teixeira 1B
          Chien-Ming Swisher LF
          Chien-Ming Posada DH
          Chien-Ming Cano 2B
          Chien-Ming Nady RF
          Chien-Ming Pena 3B
          Chien-Ming Molina C

          I love the 3-through-7 hitters and the fact that they don’t have any mechanical issues getting on top of the sinkers that they don’t throw!

          • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pics/hostpics/5e4be77c-8e57-4d7a-8533-add8ed030ad5JerkStore.jpg Slugger27

            ietc… quite a bit

          • matthew

            One thing with the velocity…he started last year with nearly identical velocity figures, so it may just take him some more time to get up to speed.

        • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Just keep it on topic, whether it’s about posting lineups or anything else. RAB Commenting Guideline #5.

    • steve (different one)

      i guess there’s not much you can do when Molina has to catch. Posada is probably the best bet to DH.

    • A.D.

      Curious on no Damon

      • Chris

        He was slated for a day off the first game that Tex missed. I’m assuming this just makes up for it.

        • A.D.

          makes a whole lot of sense.

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

      So Girardi is super-intent on keeping Cano where he is, I guess. Because going Jeter-Cano-Tex-Swish-Posada-Nady-Pena-Molina-Gardner sounds much, much better to me.

      • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pics/hostpics/5e4be77c-8e57-4d7a-8533-add8ed030ad5JerkStore.jpg Slugger27

        me too… but i think hes going outta his way to put gardner leading off and jeter 2nd to try something different with them and get them going

        i think he had certain things in mind for those 2 guys specifically, and then filled out the rest based on that

      • steve (different one)

        i think it’s a “let’s not mess with Cano right now” thing.

        and i actually agree with it, even though i concede that you are correct from a baseball POV.

  • Moshe Mandel

    I think what Wang said fits the data- like you said, his release point is higher, but like he said, it is off to the side as well. I bet if he fixed his problem and got properly aligned so that he was coming over the top, his release point would lower as well.

  • Pel

    Awesome stuff, Mike.

  • Sal

    maybe he’s just not very good. He has 1 pitch n in 4 years hasn’t developed anything else

    • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pics/hostpics/5e4be77c-8e57-4d7a-8533-add8ed030ad5JerkStore.jpg Slugger27

      rivera has 1 pitch, and hes the greatest statistical pitcher in history

      • http://RBIRADIO.BLOGSPOT.COM Joey H

        Yeah in one inning, generally only having to face 3-5 batters, not going through the order several times. In Wang’s case, several times in ONE FREAKEN INNING!11!!!!1

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        rivera has 1 pitch, and hes the greatest statistical pitcher outlier in history

        Fixed.

        (It’s funny because it’s true.)

        • Chris

          The analysis I saw that showed he threw one pitch, in one location (up and in), and at one speed (93MPH) to lefties and still managed to get outs just blew my mind.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            The Mo works in mysterious ways.

            Mosanna, Mosanna, Mosanna in the highest.

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

      I’m going to say this again, and I’m going to keep saying it until people knock it off with the “maybe he’s not good” and the “maybe his lack of Ks is catching up to him” tripe.

      Did Chien-Ming Wang succeed from 2006 through 2008 by throwing belt-high sinkers? No. He did not. What has he been doing this season? Throwing belt-high sinkers.

      I love pitch f/x. It gives us greater insight into the nuances of pitching. But I don’t need it to tell me that belt-high fastballs get belted. Thankfully, p f/x might be able to give us a better indication of why those fastballs were belt high.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Maybe he’s not that good, he was just using steroids the past few years and they caused the belt-high meatballs he naturally throws to be artificially less meaty and filled with more lean muscle mass.

        WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT?!?!?!?

  • Reggie C.

    The velocity is down something like 4 mph. Bats aren’t gonna be late on 89 mph FBs.

    p.s.,
    when is RAB going to integrate MOCAP in its pitching analyses?

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

      Just as soon as we figure out how to do it.

    • http://RBIRADIO.BLOGSPOT.COM Joey H

      But it would certainly help if that 89 were down and sinking instead of up and with minimal movement.

      • A.D.

        Exactly, he’d probably be fine with an 89 MPH quality sinker, just not an 89 MPH meat ball.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Fuck the heck is MOCAP? Motion capture?

      • Reggie C.

        we’re only a tech-smart GM away from an org putting MOCAP suits on its pitchers to capture the entire wind-up to release to follow-thru process.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          we’re only a tech-smart GM away from an org putting MOCAP suits on its pitchers to capture the entire wind-up to release to follow-thru process playing this game on spreadsheets like we all really want.

          Fixed.

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            HOYVIN-GLAYVIN!!!!

            • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pics/hostpics/5e4be77c-8e57-4d7a-8533-add8ed030ad5JerkStore.jpg Slugger27

              lmao… well played

  • Derek L

    The Blue Jays are finally fulfilling expectations more than the Yankees are not. A-Roid on the DL is having a huge impact, more than Chien-Ming Wang pitching every 5 days.

    • steve (different one)

      yes, it can’t just be that the Jays are hot for 8 games.

      • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif Expired Milk

        Or 3 bad starts where they were out quickly in a hole.

      • andrew

        impossible.

  • Infamous

    These graphs are awesome.

    One question:

    One the movement graph his slider, 2008, is around -2 horizontally. You said that if it is a negative it moves in on right handers. Shouldnt a slider move away from righthanders?

  • A.D.

    What’s interesting is Wang says he needs to stay on top, but when his arm slot is up, he’s essentially sucked, on top of that most sinker slider guys don’t appear to throw over the the top, so from this one would think he should be off to the side.

    Looking at the release points, we see 2 distinct clusters for post May 18th, one in the release area that has shown success, and one in the failure one. Given that Wang had 2 very strong starts to end that poor May 18th performance I wonder if that’s the reason for the 2 spots, May 18-June 5th bad spot June 10th & 15th good spot?

    • Pel

      What’s interesting is Wang says he needs to stay on top, but when his arm slot is up, he’s essentially sucked, on top of that most sinker slider guys don’t appear to throw over the the top, so from this one would think he should be off to the side.

      Does CMW use a translator?
      Perhaps the translator misspoke? It happens.
      Maybe that’s why it doesn’t make sense to us.

      But, if it’s not a misunderstanding and Wang actually meant that, then maybe he’s being instructed to go higher and his mechanics are getting tweaked for the worse.

      But I don’t know shit, though, so whatever. Just speculating.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        But I don’t know shit, though, so whatever. Just speculating.

        Meh, we all are. No big whoop, don’t beat yourself up over it.

        • A.D.

          Essentially all posts on the topic of “whats wrong” is speculation

        • Pel

          I gotcha. Thanks.

      • A.D.

        Could be misspoke, else the issue could be they tweaked his mechanics, this tweak didn’t really work, however CMW got hurt, and thus didn’t get the full sample size to know it doesn’t work, and now he’s trying to repeat these tweaked mechanics that don’t work, and thus we get the two different arm slot spots, with too very different on the field results.

  • http://www.nowlive.com/desktop/default.aspx?id=100330797 Joey H

    Now,the obvious problem has been the sinker not living up to its name. Would it hurt for CMW to pull back for some extra on the fastball to at least tough it out? He can throw 94-95 at his best from what I have observed over the past couple years. Just as a temporary plan B until that turbo sinker get moving.

  • Joey H

    Now, the obvious problem has been the sinker not living up to its name. Would it hurt for CMW to pull back for some extra on the fastball to at least tough it out? He can throw 94-95 at his best from what I have observed over the past couple years. Just as a temporary plan B until that turbo sinker get moving.

    • Joey H

      And of course more use of his slider.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Eh, it’s probably smarter to just concentrate on getting this sinker fixed rather than relying on a Plan B. Plan A’s more important.

      He’s not going to become a straight fastball guy all of a sudden. He needs the sinker working to be effective and play the fastball off it.

      • Joey H

        I totally get what you are saying but lets face it, the sinker even when he does get it fixed isn’t going to work every start so to avoid these 1IP outings when he doesn’t have his best repertoire he can just pull back for something extra and get by. He does have a good sneaky fastball anyway.

        • Chris

          He has developed his slider, changeup and I believe a 4 seamer quite a bit the last 2 years. I remember him saying that the Red Sox and Indians in particular were sitting on his sinker and pounding it. If you look at his starts against them in 2008 they have the most strikeouts and most flyballs because he was pitching differently. Even if he develops another pitch, everything will play off his sinker, so he needs to get that fixed.

          • Joey H

            You’re absolutely missing the point. But never mind. The key to his success will be working off that sinker but mixing his secondary pitches in there to complement the turbo sinker.

            • Chris

              Is your point just that he should throw harder? I think Farnsworth proved that doesn’t always help.

              • Joey H

                In a tight situation he should pull back for some extra when he doesn’t have his best sinker. If you are going to throw it over the plate than at least throw it hard.

  • Count Zero

    I posted this morning, but I was late to the dance so…

    Is it just me, or did anyone else feel like his windup was even more deliberate than usual last night? I mean, he’s always had that really slow start to his windup, but it seemed to me like he slowed it down even further. I think Coney made the point that it’s hard to get all your parts moving at the proper speed from such a slow windup, and that might be why his arm is having to play catchup. Several people have pointed out that it looks like his arm is trailing his body.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime…Swisher for MVP

      It’s not you. I thought he looked awkward and uncomfortable all night.

  • Ahinds

    I think he just does not have the make-up for being a yankee. the guy does not have any heart. i would say that those 2 years of 19 wins was a soft 19 wins. there is just something about this guy. he’s soft.

    i don’t believe this but i hurd it on the radio. does anyone else feel this way about wang?

    • A.D.

      No, and whoever said that on the radio is an idiot.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        That statement is redundant.

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

      No. Only Mike Francessa, who I’m assuming said this. I also detect a bit of xenophobia in that line of thought.

      • UWS

        I’m inclined to think Ahinds is being sarcastic.

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

          I don’t. He admits to parroting what he heard on the radio.

          • UWS

            Good point, I kind of missed the last two sentences. Carry on!

          • Ahinds

            true, but like i said, i dont believe it, i wanted to know if the mostly reasonable people here at the blog did, i was just a question.

      • Ahinds

        francessa did say this, i needed to fix my baseball jones and espn raido reminded me to much of fox news for some weird reason but i was like jumping out of the frying pan and into the other frying pan.

        would you agree that wang has to learn how to win without his best stuff. or is that b.s. also. when he’s bad he gets pounded,

        its not like 5IP 6H 3ER, its like 3IP 8ER,

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime…Swisher for MVP

      There is no such thing as ‘soft 38 wins’.

    • UWS

      Hmmm, you might be onto something. A soft wang would be a big problem indeed.

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

      • http://www.youtube.com/kevyyankees Kevin G.

        Maybe he wasn’t (turned) on during his starts.
        HAHAHAHAHA. High five!!!
        Anyone?! Anyone?! Ugh, http://instantcrickets.com/

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        What made this funnier: the fact that UWS said it.

        You know what I’m talking about…

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        IETCAIKOTMO

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      Well, I don’t think Wang would’ve gotten 19 wins on most other teams, but the rest of that is just total BS. I hate this “Yankee mentality” or “make up to be a Yankee” crap. You never hear that shit about ANY other team.

  • http://www.wiredtowns.com Short Porch

    Nothing uglier than a sinker baller out of whack. We remember when Ramiro Mendoza had an off night, or when Kevin Brown fell apart.

    It’s just plain fugly.

    Wang will get it back together. He was never a #1 starter, but a solid 3 guy on a good team. He may be 4-5 on a great one, and that would be fine with me.

  • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

    Kevin Blackistone just said Joba Chamberlain is not working out to be what people want him to be. What? Seriously?

    • http://heavysoundsandtheabstracttruth.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/alg_burnett-sabathia-3.jpg Mike Pop

      Whenever Chein Ming Paige makes a good point, they still don’t let him win.

      • Tom Zig

        I always want Chien-Ming Paige to win. I never want Chien-Ming Mariotti to win.

      • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pics/hostpics/5e4be77c-8e57-4d7a-8533-add8ed030ad5JerkStore.jpg Slugger27

        paiges mispronunciations and other unintentional fuck-ups are the best part of that show

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Around the Horn is not working out to what I want it to be.

    • UWS

      Well, I want Joba to cure cancer, build a cold fusion engine, and eliminate world hunger. So yes, he is definitely not working out to what I want him to be.

    • http://www.youtube.com/kevyyankees Kevin G.
    • Tom Zig

      I didn’t realize 6 innings with 1 ER on 88 pitches wasn’t working out. DAMN IT JOBA! Why didn’t he get 18 strikeouts on 54 pitches?

      Saying that Phil Coke isn’t working out would carry more weight, but even that is way too early to be true.

    • pat

      Actually Matt he’s completely right. Fans are expecting to see Joba the setup man for 9 innings a game. They’re expecting to see 100 mph fastballs all game and 27k’s every night. Those assh*les aren’t getting hwat they expected. The small fraction of fans however that know what to expect(6 or 7 Ip 7-8 K’s with a bunch of groundouts) have been pleased.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

        Oh yeah. I forgot.

        Heh…

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      AND WHY THE FUCK DOES THE MSM KEEP THINKING THAT THE SOX HAVE BETTER PITCHING THAN THE YANKEES?!

  • Ace

    From the LoHud Blog…

    http://yankees.lhblogs.com/200.....s-at-rays/

    UPDATE, 4:05 p.m.: Dave Eiland just said Wang had great stuff in the bullpen before the game last night. His point was that Wang is healthy and needs to take it into the game.

    UPDATE, 4:42 p.m.: Wang is meeting now with Joe Girardi and Dave Eiland. I would assume this is a pep talk. … A-Rod worked out inside today at Steinbrenner Field.

  • AJ

    News for AAA (courtesy of Chad Jennings and his S/WB blog):

    No AAA pitchers have been called up for tonight’s game. Looks like A.J. will have to give at least 7 innings of work. If not, maybe we’ll see Cody Ransom showing off his four-seamer.

    • A.D.

      Very odd, figure bring up at least one guy, but I guess they do have Veras, Bruney, Marte, and Mo available

  • jonathan

    I am sorry, but if we are going to keep sending Wang out hoping that he puts it together we need to bring tomko up as a long man. Our bullpen cant take this sort of beating everytime he pitches, and we have AJ who gets alot of Ks and runs his pitch count high.

  • zack

    I think you have to factor in Wang’s two starts right before he got injured though Mike (if you can even find/read this among all the other stuff here).

    The two starts prior to the injury (well one prior to and one during) showed a turn around for Wang, where he seemed to regain his previous form. 12 IP, 1 ER, 2BB, 5K, 1.25 WHIP.

    Sure, it was only two starts, but on the other hand, the bad stretch was only 4 games.

    It just seems disingenuous to consider May 18th-now in the same vein with those two games wedged between.

    What seems to be bother Wang now, therefore, seems wholly different than what bothered him from May 18th-June 5

  • Joseph M

    I thought the Yanks should have moved Wang after the 2007 season. I had thought a trade of Wang, Kennedy and Duncan (remember this was 2007) could have brought Santana in return. As it turned out Minnesota offered Wang to the Yanks for Wang and Kennedy. Spilt milk for sure now, but a good GM needs to know when a player has peaked and move right him then and there if the offer is right rather than holding him and watching his value go down. I thought Wang was not nearly as effective in 2007 as he was in 2006 and Cashman should have known that also. I don’t know where he ranks right now but anyone who isn’t concerned at this point isn’t paying attention.

  • http://www.cubsfx.com Harry Pavlidis

    Wet towel:
    How did you deal with the serious PFX alignment issues and changes over time in Yankee Stadium? Park-to-park differences? Inaccuracies in Gameday ids?

    If this data isn’t corrected, and the ids taken from something other than Gameday, I’m afraid this analysis simply showing us how messed up PFX can be. Yankee Stadium has had huge alignment issues and requires substantial corrections and re-ID of pitches, unless you look at things like relative movement (slider break – fastball break) etc. Even then, it gets dicey.

  • Rob in CT

    Just from watching the games, it seems to me that Wang is getting some movement on his fastball, but it’s lateral instead of vertical. Result: balls. It’s also intermittant, though, as sometimes he gets no movement at all. Those pitches get put into orbit.

    He looks exactly the way he looked in the playoffs against the Indians in 2007. He’s mechanically out of whack, and when that happens he’s utterly awful. It’s conceivable that he’s hurt, but they keep saying he’s healthy.

    I still think he will be fine. He will sort out his mechanics and the sinker will sink again, and the result will be the Wang we know & love. ;)

  • Ken

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  • Ken

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  • daveg

    Great analysis, but I think it fails to recognize one thing (though honestly I might have just missed it in the onslaught of all that information). All of the graphs take into account release point, which is a function of two things. Obviously, the first major variable is arm slot – what angle is the arm, and how much extension? The other thing though, is the depth of knee bend in his balancing leg (Wang’s right). Naturally, the further the dip, the lower the release point.
    Maybe Wang’s not dipping as far this year. If he were hesitant about putting extra weight on his right foot, he might stand more upright, raising his release point. I’m no pitching coach, but I imagine he’d also lose some velocity if not also movement.

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  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    I don’t really get this move for the Browns. They’re basically moving Edwards for the Giants second rounder (the 62nd pick) and they’re going to replace him with Crabtree at #5. Then they’re going to address their other needs with the 62nd pick in the draft.

    I’d rather keep Edwards, eschew Crabtree, and address my other needs with the 5th pick in the draft instead of the 62nd. If I need a DT, I’d rather have B.J. Raji and Braylon Edwards than Fili Moala, Michael Crabtree, Domenik Hixon and a 5th rounder.

    Giants are getting a steal.