Chien-Ming Wang last faced the Nationals nearly three years ago to the day. It was June 18, 2006, and the Yankees were in D.C. for the first time since the Senators moved to Texas following the 1971 season.
Wang was great that day. Through 8.1 innings, he had scattered four hits, and the Nationals had hit into 19 ground ball outs. In the blink of an eye, though, that disappeared. Marlon Anderson singled, and Ryan Zimmerman lofted a pitch over the left field wall to give the Nationals a stunning 3-2 win. One day after hanging a loss on Mariano Rivera, Washington downed Wang too.
Today, circumstances are far different for Wang. It’s been 367 days since his last Major League win, and his numbers are historically bad. Since suffering a Lisfranc injury in Houston last year and returning this spring, Wang has looked like a shell of his former self. Gone are the ground balls, and gone also are home runs off him. He’s 0-4 with a 14.34 ERA, and opponents are hitting him to the tune of .446/.504/.733. That’s not a typo.
Similar to Wang’s last outing against the Nationals, I’ll be at this one also, and I wonder what I’ll see. He faces a team with hitters and no pitching. While many reporters are, with more than a bit of hyperbole, calling anything less than a sweep a failure, these Nationals, as Fack Youk explored today, are expected to win once very three days. I hope for the Yankees’ and Wang’s sake, today isn’t that day.
While the Yankee brass are saying that this is Wang’s last shot for now, the team is playing this one as just another game. I don’t know what line keeps Wang in the rotation for another start, but anything less than five innings is going to be a disappointment.
Anyway, the lineups, please. Derek went for an MRI on his ankle, but everything checked out.
18 Damon LF
33 Swisher RF
25 Teixeira 1B
13 Rodriguez 3B
24 Cano 2B
20 Posada C
55 Matsui DH
53 Cabrera CF
19 Pena SS
40 Wang P