Jun
05

Wang, Hughes and the Yanks’ final rotation spot

By

Through seven starts and 34.2 innings, Phil Hughes‘ season numbers are nothing special. The Yanks’ promising young right-hander may be 3-2, but he sports a 5.45 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. Those numbers, though, do not tell the entire story: Hughes’ numbers are inflated due to one very bad game in Baltimore.

To better assess Hughes’ season, we can omit — but not forget — that Baltimore appearance. When we do, the stats look better. In his six other starts, Hughes is 3-1 in 33 innings and sports a 3.55 ERA to go with a 1.27 WHIP. He’s averaging 8.45 strikeouts per 9 innings, and opponents are hitting .238 with a .775 OPS against him.

While Hughes is still learning how to be economical with his pitches at the Major League level, I was quite surprised when the Yankees opted to send the 22-year-old to the pen in order to get Chien-Ming Wang back into the rotation. After all, Hughes was just one start removed from an eight-inning, no-run appearance against the same Ranger ballclub the Yankees faced yesterday, and he hadn’t pitched poorly enough to earn a demotion. Still, the Yankees wanted Wang back in the starting five, and into the bullpen went Hughes.

As Joe noted in the recap, Wang started out strong and finished poorly. He had his best stuff early in the game with a fastball nearing 94 and a heavy downward tilt on the sinker. As the game went on, though, Wang’s velocity decreased and the ball trailed up. His final line — 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K — was an improvement over his April efforts, but it wasn’t a resounding return to the rotation that the Yankees and their fans had hoped to see.

For now, the Yankees are saying that Wang will make another start. With the way the Yanks have yanked around Hughes and Wang, the team should commit to giving their erstwhile ace another shot, and there are sure signs that Wang should be better. As the velocity chart linked above shows, Wang got tired as the game wore on. Another start should help him build up stamina. However, as Joe noted, Wang is pitching in Fenway next week. His career numbers there are ugly, to say the least.

With this in mind, I’m left right back where I started. I still don’t know why the Yankees bumped Phil Hughes out of the rotation in exchange for a less effective Chien-Ming Wang who wasn’t ready to start because the Yankees reactivated him from his rehab assignment a start or two on the early side. I don’t see why the Yanks didn’t want Phil starting, and I don’t see what, beyond a sample size of five innings, convinced them that Wang was ready to go. The discussion over who, between these two candidates, should be starting is far from over.

In the end, though, the Yankees may have a temporary route away from this debate. Andy Pettitte definitely didn’t have his best stuff on Wednesday, and with his control suffering in the first few innings of the Yanks’ loss, it seemed as though his back wasn’t where it needs to be. If the Yankees skip Pettitte to give him some rest, they can use Hughes and Wang in back-to-back games next week, and armed with more data from both pitchers, we can continue to flesh out what should not be a closed book.

Categories : Pitching
  • Joe R

    Wang and Hughes against Boston should be interesting.

    • JP

      Yeah, I know what you mean. But I don’t the fearful tone when people talk about meeting the Red Sox. What ever happened to the “we always beat these guys”, Yogi Berra mentality?

      I know…we don’t “always” beat them anymore; since 2004 it’s been almost the opposite.

      But I don’t like Yankee fans and guys like Francesa sounding like chicken sh!t when it comes to facing Boston. They are one of the best teams in baseball this year, but so are the Yankees. They do have us beaten in goatees, though…ok, it’s more than that, as they are having a nice run with bullpen pitchers and their starters seem to be coming around.

      But this idea that we can’t be confident with Wang and Hughes pitching in Boston is wrong headed. You go in there and expect to win. I’ve been as much of a critic of Wang as anyone, but it doesn’t mean he can’t get 14 ground balls and hold them to 1 run in 7 up there.

      As they used to tell me in the Air Force, let’s not “piss in our canteen.”

      • Joe R

        Yeah. I was more towards the fact that they’ve been inconsistent and the Red Sox are a good hitting team more so than ohnoes teh red s0x!1 I smell what youre cookin tho.

      • Chris

        I know…we don’t “always” beat them anymore; since 2004 it’s been almost the opposite.

        Actually, the only year since 2002 that Boston won the season series is 2004. They tied 9-9 last year. Every other year the Yankees won the season series.

        • JP

          Yeah…you’re right. I guess I was focusing on the big picture, with the Red Sox having 2 WS since 2004 and the Yankees with none…

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

            Yes, but since that fateful 2004 ALCS, we haven’t played the Red Sox in the playoffs again, so we don’t know whether or not we would have beaten them in the playoffs.

      • LiveFromNewYork

        My sentiments exactly. The roles have reversed and its time they reverse back.

  • Jake H

    I think giving Pettite a chance to have his back get better makes a lot of sense. Give the guy a break now to get better. Then he gets another at the All Star Game and try to skip a start with him down the stretch so that he will be healthy going into October.

    • Let’s Talk About TEX Baby

      This is a problem with incentive-based contracts. While resting Pettitte would be the smart thing to do, Pettitte gets an extra 750K for 180, 190, 200 and 210 ip this year, so if he is physically able to drag himself onto the mound he’s going to start. Girardi’s in an awkward position, especially in dealing with one of his contemporaries where if he rests him a few starts he might be costing him up to $3 mil. I don’t see it happening, unfortunately.

      • whozat

        You’d rather have guaranteed him the 12 mil?

        Look, Andy Pettitte has ALWAYS tried to pitch as long as he was physically capable of standing. It’s the manager’s job to tell him when he’s hurting the team by being stubborn and sit his ass down. I think this week would have gone more smoothly if Pettitte had skipped his last start and Wang and Hughes were both in the rotation right now. But…we are where we are. That said…Andy should not make his next start. We have a sixth starting pitcher (that may be better than our 4th and 5th pitchers)…let’s use him.

  • Mattingly’s Love Child

    Though I don’t like the move of Hughes to the pen, to me it was the only option to be made since they panicked and brought Wang back prematurely. Wang needs to start if he’s going to be on the roster. If you can’t trust him to start, you really can’t trust him to pitch in a close game in relief, and hopefully our starters won’t be pitching poorly enough to get blown out anymore. I understand keeping Hughes in the pen for Wang’s starts for the next week or two. If he stays in the bullpen any longer though, I feel that would be a mismanagement of assets.

    Building for the future while trying to win in the present is quite a challenge, especially with the ridiculous fans and media in New York (see Francessa and his disciples). The Yankees seem to have a plan that they aren’t sharing with anybody. Hopefully their plan isn’t to waste young Hughes in the bullpen.

  • JP

    The comment that Hughes requested this is interesting. I think this is key – he wants to stay on the major league roster. I have no doubt he wants to do that because he feels like he is learning and making progress, and going to AAA again probably feels like a step backward to him.

    Look, the obvious thing to do right now is to rest Andy Pettitte for a start. Wang is still an unknown quantity, but I feel pretty certain that if he goes out and pitches another solid 2 innings followed by an implosion of sorts, he’s likely to go back to the bullpen if all else remains equal.

    So maybe Hughes starts for Pettitte, and then gets back in the rotation if Wang bombs.

    If Wang does make progress, I like using Hughes in long relief, like Aceves, pitching when the starter is out after 4-5 innings, which seems to happen at least once every trip through the rotation. Maybe if Bruney comes back then Hughes has to go to AAA, but presuming he continued to pitch well and make progress, I’d actually rather see Wang relegated to the bullpen and Hughes starting for the entire season. With this little bullpen stint, it’s possible he could end up with enough room under the Verducci rule to be able to pitch in the playoffs, too.

    • JP

      In the last paragraph their, I meant “assuming Hughes continued to pitch well and make progress…”, not Wang. (This blog needs an edit button…)

      • JP

        Uh, and “there,” not “their.” Grammar failure. Proofreading failure.

        I need to work and stop blogging.

  • thebusiness

    “I still don’t know why the Yankees bumped Phil Hughes out of the rotation in exchange for a less effective Chien-Ming Wang who wasn’t ready to start because the Yankees reactivated him from his rehab assignment a start or two on the early side. I don’t see why the Yanks didn’t want Phil starting, and I don’t see what, beyond a sample size of five innings, convinced them that Wang was ready to go. The discussion over who, between these two candidates, should be starting is far from over. ”

    Are you kidding? Not only should the discussion be over, it should have never started. Wang had 3 unhealthy starts. Wang over Hughes is a no brainer.

    • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

      he just gave you the business.

  • Whizzo The Wize

    Whizzo believes the situation can be summed up in five words:

    Build up Wang’s trade value.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      That’s going to take a while, though. While I fully believe CMW will be traded, I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon. The Yankees need him in the rotation for next year and they need time to develop another starter (IPK? Z-Mac?) to take his place when the time comes. I do, however, expect Wang to be dumped for prospects by 2011.

      • Whizzo The Wize

        The question is, will Wang bring more or less as time goes on?

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Well, there’s no way he’d bring anything good in the immediate/near future. I am confident that he can bring himself back to what he was in ’06-’08 and when he does, he’ll be able to bring back a good amount.

    • JP

      Only the GM would do that, and I’m thinking if he suggested it to the skipper Joe would take his night stick and flog him. I’m totally naive about stuff like this, but I cannot believe a contending team would do something like that – pitch the inferior guy to build his trade value.

      Does anyone else think they are doing this?

      • Whizzo The Wize

        Whizzo directs you to Pinstripe Alley where this very topic was discussed just this morning.

        • JP

          Didn’t read the whole thread. Was there something there “proving” they are doing this. Still have a hard time believing it.

        • NHYankee62

          NHYankee62 thinks it would be ridiculous to trade Wang.

          For the first time since the dynasty years, the rotation is the strength of the team. Why weaken it??

          Especially when you have age and health concerns with Pettitte, injury concerns for Burnett, and innings limits for both Hughes and Joba.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Why trade Wang? More than likely Pettitte won’t be back next year. Then we’ll have only 5 starters again.

      • Whizzo The Wize

        Whizzo agrees.

        But if Wang can bring back an impact AAA outfielder, and Hughes shows he can stick at the ML level, then isn’t it a good move for the Yanks considering they have CC, Joba, Phil and AJ all under control for at least two more seasons?

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Yeah if they can get great prospects then it’ll be worth it. But who takes Wang’s spot next year? Go the the FA market? John Lackey is available.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            I’d rather not go after an FA pitcher. I say keep Wang through ’10 with a rotation of CC/AJ/Joba/Wang/Hughes and keep developing someone through the MiL ranks to take Wang’s spot in ’11 if he is in fact traded.

          • Whizzo The Wize

            Aceves, IPK maybe?

            This would be a #5 guy, Whizzo doesn’t see the need to throw $75 – $100 million at it.

            • JobaWockeeZ

              Ehh I don’t know about IPK. Especially since he missed time with that injury.
              I don’t know about Aceves though. It seems like they are comitting him to the bullpen.
              Al in all, I’d still rather have Wang.

              • Whizzo The Wize

                Whizzo cannot disagree with that conclusion, but with one caveat: Wang may be the best trade bait the Yankees posses for quite some time. and the more cheap service time he has left, the more he will bring back in a return.

                Still, how can Whizzo really advocate against a rotation of CC, AJ, Joba, Phil and Wang? That’s just a great group.

                • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

                  we really do need some AAA outfield prospects, cause we dont have any–especially any that may be available as early as partway through 2010…

                • Bo

                  Trade value? If he starts going again and pitching well why trade him?

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

                  If he starts going again and pitching well why trade him?

                  Because
                  1) With CC, AJ, Joba, and Hughes + possibly Pettitte + several other high quality pitching prospects in the pipeline (IPK, Bleich, Brackman, Betances, McAllister, Kontos, Garcia, Mitchell, Marshall, Banuelos, etc) we probably have enough depth to make a good 1-5 without him
                  2) He’s nearing free agency and will soon likely command a contract that might be far higher than his actual value
                  3) He’ll be on the wrong side of 30 soon
                  4) Despite #2 and #3, he still probably has enough value to still bring back some good players/prospects in return

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  What TSJC said.

                • JP

                  +1 TSJC. He doesn’t seem to fit the mold of a pitcher who is highly effective late into his career.

                • NHYankee62

                  Seems to be the consensus that with CC and AJ locked up along with the young pitchers that we have enough in the future to get by without Wang.

                  What about this year? This team can win it all now and become a dynasty. If they trade Wang for AAA prospects, that severely weakens the rotation for the stretch run and the playoffs. What happens when Joba and Hughes reach their innings limits?

                  Then you only have CC, AJ, and Pettitte.

  • UWS

    To me, this still smells like a “veteranness” issue. Wang got shoe-horned into the rotation and Hughes got kicked out of it because Wang “has the experience.” That’s the only reason I see for going about it the way Yankees did.

    Yes, Wang has the experience, but his recent experience has been horrendous and he has done little to show those days are behind him. At the very least, he should’ve stayed in the ‘pen a bit longer.

  • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

    my opinion (probably wrong but makes sense to me)

    cashman has a plan. no, but seriously, in a perfect world, we know joba has an innings limit and at this rate will hit it, what, sometime in august, yes? Let’s, for argument’s sake, say early august, guestimate the 4th. So, they throw wang bakc into the rotation now, and, knowing that at least 3of our other starters give us a chance to win everytime and pettitte does when healthy (4-1 is still giving us a chance to win really regardless but whatever) then they can afford to let wang work it out in the rotation.

    Knowing this, hughes hangs out waiting in case wang experiences E.D. and solidifies a bullpen that is missing 2 key cogs and has 2 key cogs form last year be completely unreliable. Ok, fine for now. So, long run, wang gets SHELLED 2 starts but that leads to him figuring it out and being a serviceable 3-4 starter the rest of the year (anything else is gravy at this point so im going with this) then this was the right decision.

    Next, having had hughes in the bullpenn sserves two purposes. he gets inningd at the big league level and doesnt throw too many so that he doesnt meet his innings cap sometime in august as well. Therefore, around the all star break, hughes goes down (if he is not already) and gets 2-3 starts to regain arm strength and stamina, and then boom comes up and takes jobas spot on aug 9th when it is jobas day to pitch again but he hit his innings limit. that to me would be how i would like it to work out.

    The only caveat here is that hughes relief innings must be watched closely so that there is no doubt he ends up short by the end of the year if he does come bakc up to start. meaning, he comes bakc to start aug 9 th and then would get roughly 10 starts for the rest of the year but is still 90 innings short of his cap then thats an issue because he obv wont go 9 in every one.

    just my idea.

    • Some call me…tim

      Yes

      How do you think/want Andy and Wang to play out next year?

      • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

        well, wang’s not going anywhere because he is cheap still and at least a yr or two away from free agency still if i remember correctly. So unless the wheels come ocmpletely off, personally, I would hang onto him hoping he can rediscover his sinker and elevate up to be a #2 again. but if not, hang onto him until his pre free agent year at a cheap cost and then, since he will still be cheap you trade him for what you can get.

        Andy, I dont know. i mean, he still shows he can keep us in the game and is a much better 5th starter than almost any team has…but if phil is ready next yr then hes just not necessary. i say we thank him for everything after this year and if he still wants ot pitch give him an invite to spring training and if he DAZZLES, absolutely, looks 25, then good, if not, bring him in in some way in the minors or as a spring training advisor like tino started as and thak him for his service.

        Now, IF, a younger prospect makes the jump andputs it all together in the next couple years (which would be a big if since most upper levelo starting talent not name dhuhges/joba seems ot be in the lower minors) then a trade of wang might make sense. but unless that happens, then WHO do you replace wang with? His upside even as a 3 or 4 is higher than andys so you cant say trade him and keep pettitte….

        what do you think?

        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

          my world probably bears no resemblance to your world.

          in my world, wang becomes a mediocre pitcher by the end of the year, which makes him our #5, and doesnt get him in the playoff rotation under ‘normal’ circumstances (ie us winning in 3 or 4, and in the WS CC pitches both game 1 and game 4! :) ). He comes back next year as a legit 3 and works his way up to #2 by the end of the year. I really like the guy, especially without Jason Stonefeet playing first.

          Andy doesnt come back, and doesnt try to come back either–we win the series, and in his first post-game interview, he tells everyone how great it was, and how happy he is to be going out on a high note. He then promptly signs with Houston for $1M and $10M in incentives. He never makes it to the all-star break, and we spend the rest of next year talking about how sad this all is, and how great he used to be, and how funny it is that after all that, Clemens beat the steriod rap.

          Joba and Philly scroll through the rotation, pen and SWB to end up in the pen for the playoffs, with one of them getting one playoff start.

          AJ misses ZERO starts to make all of us wrong about our assumptions (and also very happy).

          Wang stays solid, and doesnt get traded, gets signed for more than he’s worth but thats the Yankee way, and stays our number fiver after CC, Hughes (yeah i said it), Joba, and AJ (yeah i said that too).

          We also talk about how amazing of a job Cash and JoeG did with the bullpen, the development and the management of the rotation and pitchers, completing forgetting all the stupid shit we spewed for the last 3 months and the next 6 weeks.

          like i said…no semblance to reality :D

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

            AJ misses ZERO starts to make all of us wrong about our assumptions (and also very happy).

            That will only make me half happy. The other half is, AJ needs to also pitch like a #2 and not pitch like a #4 or a #5.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      OAKTAG!

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        JK

        Makes sense to me. But I’d rather Joba didn’t hit his innings limit on August 9th.

        I guess the innings limit thing is going to be one of the biggest issues of the summer. Trying to get the most out of both Joba and Hughes.

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

          I guess the innings limit thing is going to be one of the biggest issues of the summer.

          I can’t wait to hear Francesa slam Cashman for shutting Joba down in late August for innings caps after constantly slamming Cashman the past few years for not having Joba in the pen.

          “None of this woulda been an issue if he was just in the pen where he belongs. It’s a ‘roster management’ thing.”

          No, Mike, it’s a “you’re a moron” thing.

          • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

            If Joba stays healthy enough and effective enough that the Yanks shut him down on August 4, Yankee fans should throw a Sweet 16-quality party (and I’m talking those huge blowouts they used to feature on MTV). Why? Because it will mean that Joba proved he can stay healthy as a starter, and that he can be a consistently effective starter. And it would mean he is on track to develop into a dominant starter down the line.

            That’s about the best news the Yanks could get.

            So I would be THRILLED if Joba is shut down for being “too” effective and “too” healthy, and thus using up his innings allotment.

          • Chris P.

            So, what happens to Joba once he reaches or nears his cap? Would they just shut him down? I hope not. I am 100% commited to Joba in the rotation, but at the end of the year, if its August and he’s reached his cap, do you put him in the bullpen?

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

              I’d say, no.

              The risk outweighs the reward. JMHO.

              • Chris P.

                I don’t know about that. They can’t just have him do nothing right? Especially if our bullpen continues to be craptastic.

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

                  They can’t just have him do nothing right?

                  Sure they can, if they think it’s in the best interests of the team long term.

                  Especially if our bullpen continues to be craptastic.

                  Our bullpen is currently far less craptastic than it’s been portrayed to be. The two biggest violators, Edwar and Veras, seem to have been banished to AAA and the LaTroy Hawkins Zone, respectively; Aceves, Coke, and Robertson have looked good, Melancon is more than likely going to return at some point and pitch better now that the first-time jitters are gone, Bruney and Marte are rehabbing and will be back long before the playoffs start, and we may even trade for an additional reliever.

                  And, Hughes has enough extra innings under his cap that, unlike Joba, he can probably go to the pen for the playoffs without much injury risk.

    • JP

      I like you’re idea.

      It may not be exactly on the mark, but all the talk we’ve done recently on how to handle the 6=5 situation, I’m thinking the team probably does not want a situation where we are in the playoffs and both Hughes and Joba are shut down.

  • LateInningRelief

    Glad to see some traction for what seems to me the obvious solution: Skip Andy.

    This is such a mess. First they mishandle bringing Wang back, then they prematurely send Phil to the bullpen when they should’ve given CMW Andy’s last start. With Burnett’s suspension, they could have moved this whole controversy off for a couple starts.

    • Bo

      This is the same group that didn’t bring a long man out of spring training the past 2 yrs and paid the price for it. They never learn.

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

        “This is the same group that didn’t bring a long man out of spring training the past 2 yrs and paid the price for it.”

        Sal/Bo/Grant/Lanny: We’re in first place.

        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

          TJSC epic fail.

          its not results, its the ROUTE.

  • Rob in CT

    They have (potentially, if Wang continues to improve) 6 starting pitchers. This is a good thing.

    Andy’s back is hurting.
    Wang may or may not be what he once was
    Hughes is 23, and is pitching like it (flashes of brilliance, overall mediocrity, so far)
    AJ Burnett is AJ Burnett (and Bob Watson is Bob Watson)
    Joba has an innings limit, and has had shoulder issues in the past.

    This situation, though a bit messy, really doesn’t bother me.

  • Some call me…tim

    When Wang is straight and pounding, he’s our #2 and #1 on most teams (although prolly not an Ace).
    The Yanks mismanaged his return from the lisfranc. Twice.

    Phranchise is still low man on the totem pole, and is expected to out contribute Ponson/Geise/Ratner/Ohlendorf/thatotherguy this year, but is also expected to develop and strengthen. He can do both of those with what he’s done plus a few weeks in the pen/being available and READY to go when asked, and he’ll either go back to SWB or go back to SWB.

    Joba, same story: execute a little more, develop a little less, still has a cap.

    Theyre doing the right thing, although when Joba rotates through the pen, he’s a lockdown 8th guy. (sorry!1!)

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

      When Wang is straight and pounding, he’s our #2 and #1

      Nope. Not gonna touch that one.

      • UWS

        You just did. I think it moved.

  • Chris

    I still don’t understand the argument that more time in AAA would have made a difference. He pitched 2 games – 13 innings – in AAA and didn’t give up a run. Obviously he was healthy enough and good enough to get out AAA hitters, so the next logical step was to call him up and see how he did against major leaguers.

    You can argue whether putting him in the pen was the right move, but all of his appearances were on 3 or 4 days rest and they were in generally low leverage situations. That seems like a reasonable plan to see how he would fare against better hitters. He pitched well in those roles, so the Yankees gave him a shot in the rotation.

    If it weren’t for the drama of Joba being hit by a pitch and calling Wang back, then I think most people would feel this is a reasonable approach to getting him back.

    • UWS

      If nothing else, pitching in AAA would have allowed him to strengthen his legs and increase his stamina – both are being cited as reasons for his meltdown in the later innings yesterday.

    • A.D.

      Well its building up stamina, so that he would be throwing 100+ pitches in those starts, then awkwardly bringing him to the ML level and then having him pitch only a few innings at a time.

    • Some call me…tim

      Armstrength, both pitch count and velocity.

      • Bo

        Pitching in AAA would have spared us all from watching him start and get shelled.

        Just leave him in the pen. Wasn’t he pitching well there????

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

          We’re going to have to get him back in the rotation at some point. The sooner the better. Wang showed signs of improvement during his longman appearances out of the pen. And, he showed signs of improvement yesterday.

          • JP

            At what point, though, that is the question? I’m not sure I wasn’t happy to just stay with the hot hand and let Wang shut teams down for 2-3 innings at a clip and build confidence.

            There is probably no single “right answer” here, other than you can go with whatever you want, as long as it’s “safe” and you’re winning.

  • A.D.

    Ideally right now you want a healthy Wang over a healthy Hughes in the rotation, as that’s even how they thought they were starting the season. They’re thrown in a situation where to get Wang 100% they need to suffer through some of the pains, that normally would be taken care of in spring training.

    Its somewhat similar to Joba to the rotation last year, you ultimately want Joba in the rotation because he’s going to help you far more over the next 3-4 months then he’s going to hurt you in the 3-4 starts to get up to full strength, therefore you suffer through a few starts that someone else might have been able to pitch better, to get a bunch of great starts from a very good starting pitcher.

  • Stuckey

    I sum up this situation thusly – its a full-out blog-era creation.

    And I don’t mean that too critically. Blogs exist 24 hours and games last 3 and 1/2 hours. A few hours of the day time is taken discussing things leading up to the games and then the results after the game, but that’s leaves 15+ hours to fill having to focus on SOMETHING, which leads to micro-analysis of things out of proportion to a 162 game schedule.

    The Yankees less than a month ago were 6 games outta first. To treat any ONE, two, or even 3 starts as somehow critical to the season (even if it is in Boston) is missing the big picture.

    Wang has been a VERY good ML picture. Yankees need to find out if he can be again.

    It’s really that simple.

    As I say, I don’t blame the blogs, you’re just giving your audience (including me) what they expect, perhaps I’m just suggesting a little self-awareness about it.

    A baseball season doesn’t lend itself to daily micro-analysis. Anyone who knows baseball should know this.

  • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

    at this point im so tired of all the SO AND SO TO THE BULLPEN arguments that I could care less what happensa this year as long as hughes and joba reach their innings limits and are ready to go as STARTERS next yr. Because it is that end goal that matters.

    its kinda like teh johan trade stuff. it just goes on and on and gets rehashed and rehashed and with nothing new it just becomes so, just, meh.

    • Bo

      Wah.

      • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

        and again, as usual, you provide nothing tangible, and a complete worthless comment only further solidifying your uselessness to this blog in its entirety.

        i take that back, you are great as the butt of all our jokes about eveyrone else hwo is useless.

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

    I wonder if this means just a skipped start for Andy or an actual 15-day DL to give both Wang and Hughes a guaranteed 3 more starts apiece.

    If we DL Andy, we could roll with a CC-AJ-Joba-Wang-Hughes rotation for two weeks, promote Melancon, and have a Mo-Aceves-Coke-Robertson-Melancon-Veras-Tomko bullpen, which would be nice. And then, by mid-June when Andy and hopefully Bruney would both be ready to return, we could demote Hughes to Scranton and DFA either Veras or Tomko to make room for Bruney.

    • Axl

      Andy doesn’t want to miss even 1 start…let alone a DL stint missing roughly 3…because of his contract. Not that it’s entirely his choice in the end…but if they want to keep him happy…they’ll feed his need…at least for one more start anyway

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

        Andy doesn’t have final say in the matter.

        • Chris P.

          I’d be really upset with Andy if he were pitching injured and hurting the team simply because he makes more money that way. He had a 10 million dollar offer sitting on the table for monthes and he didn’t take it.

          • Axl

            Well we can’t really say it’s definitely because of that…he wants to pitch all the time regardless it seems. He’s a pretty religious goody two shoes type guy and he took HGH so he could continue to pitch…without a big incentive laden contract…and last year he was guaranteed $16mm and he pitched with a sore shoulder for about half the season without telling anybody or taking himself out. So the money is just something else that will influence him to not take himself out voluntarily but it won’t be the main reason. He seemingly wants to pitch always…regardless.

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

            I wonder how much truth there is in this whole “Andy only wants to keep starting because of the incentive money”.

            Andy Pettitte has always been a guy who wanted to keep starting and pitched through pain and didn’t want to go to the DL. Even when there were no immediate salary ramifications for him personally.

            • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

              assuming its a 15 day DL stint…what’s the point? do we have a pitcher on the 40 we can bring up for two weeks that we are WILLING to move (twice)?

              if DL’ing Andy brings up Melancon for two weeks, then I might be ok with that!

              lets get back to the REAL issue:

              DFA BERROA.

              • AlexNYC

                I think that will happen as soon as Ransom get here. We cannot have 41 man rosters.

  • MattG

    I am a minority voice in this, to be sure, but my confidence in the Yankees continues to increase. They have correctly identified all of their major league pitchers, and they have correctly ordered them in a depth chart. Phil Hughes is clearly #6 on the list. This is exactly what you do.

    There are still 4 months of regular season and one month of post-season baseball to play. That is plenty of time to get Hughes the 116 more innings he needs to pitch this year. If everyone miraculous stays healthy, and Hughes does fall short of that total, there is AAA for three more months, and fall ball in November.

    But not everyone will stay healthy.

    IMO, RAB is not treating these decisions fairly. I can see that you do not totally support these moves, but your posts before the fact always contain qualifiers, while your posts after the fact do not always reflect the original uncertainty. Saying “I told you so” is always annoying–saying “I told you so” when referencing qualified statements is just not right.

    • NHYankee62

      I agree. Hughes is the #6 and Wang needs to be in that rotation.

      If the Yankees are going to win this year, Wang needs to be a big part of it.

      Also, it’s kind of hard having both Hughes and Joba in the rotation with the the bullpen already being in question. Both are a threat to only pitch 5 innings or less each time out, putting a major strain on the pen. Getting the real Wang back, will give us a solid #2 who can pitch 7 or 8 innings.

  • mmx

    Wang’s 3 awful starts is because Yankees won’t let him work hislower body, it’s not Wang’s fault. Then Yankees pull him out of panic and put him again in another awful position, and a lot of people blaming it’s Wang’s fault.

    Look. Wang, is a starter for his whole baseball career, that’s where he is best. Yankees is not the only MLB team that’s giving their veterans more opportunity before claiming the player is done. And you know Wang is not done, he just does not have enough strength yet, but that’s because Yankees put him in such position, not because Wang already lost his strength.

    Wang, Hughes & Joba will be starter, no matter what. Since Yankees not likely to sign Andy next year. Hughes’s time will come, just a bit later.

  • MattG

    His final line — 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K — was an improvement over his April efforts, but it wasn’t a resounding return to the rotation that the Yankees and their fans had hoped to see.

    Focusing on the line is a bit disingenuous. There were two balls hit for doubles that were excellent pitches, and just examples of fine hitting. And the home run to Cruz with 2 out in the fifth, although it really hurt, came after everyone on the bench knew Wang’s stuff was toast. Girardi was guilty of trying to be neat and symmetrical there–get him through a full five–and after getting the first two outs, his luck ran out.

    I would be concerned with why the Rangers were able to cover the outside corner so well. Was Wang unable to get inside? But then again, its just two pitches. Sometimes good pitches get hit.

    • UWS

      I would be concerned with why the Rangers were able to cover the outside corner so well. Was Wang unable to get inside?

      I watched bits and pieces on YES Encore last night, so I can’t say for sure, but it seems as though Wang’s secondary pitches weren’t very sharp, allowing the hitters to zero in on the sinker. Thoughts, anyone?

      • MattG

        Well, he went to the slider almost exclusively after they zeroed in on the sinker, and then he hung one to Cruz. The slider worked while it had the element of surprise, but from the CF camera, it looked mostly flat.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I would be concerned with why the Rangers were able to cover the outside corner so well.

      I think this was an effect of the lefty hitters adjusting to Wang’s sinker and taking it the other way.

      • MattG

        Well, that’s certainly true. I wonder why he wasn’t therefore able to get it in on their hands. His sinker is good enough to throw 80% of the time, but he needs to use both halves. Was he unable to do this, or did he and Cervelli just forget?

        • whozat

          That’s what the slider should be used for.

    • kSturnz

      “There were two balls hit for doubles that were excellent pitches, and just examples of fine hitting.”

      or having just one pitch, but rationalize how you will

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        Mo has one pitch.

  • Bo

    Makes a ton of sense to start Wang vs Boston in Fenway in the opening game of the series. Could be a bloodbath and there goes the pen for that series. With Cashman saying Hughes is here for a min of 2 more weeks at least it’s pretty obvious he’s getting 2 more starts to right his ship or hes in the bullpen.

    • Joe R

      Where’d the bullpen go? Even if Wang pitches 1 inning, theres 3 men in the bullpen right now who can pitch 3 innings. He can use Tomko/Aceves or Hughes straight out to clean up that game, and still have the rest of the bullpen for the next two games.

    • Chris

      Texas is a better offense than Boston, and Yankee Stadium is a better hitters park than Fenway. Why would his results be any worse than yesterday?

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

        Because the “Boston always does everything right and we always do everything wrong and thus they’re sure to beat and embarrass us” meme better dovetails with Sal/Bo/Grant/Lanny’s nihilistic modus operandi/lifetheme/anti-joie de vivre.

      • whozat

        Because they’re THE RED SOX!!!!!

        FFFEEEEEEEAAAAARRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!

      • Axl

        Because for whatever reason…things have usually worked out for them lately (in some respects anyway). Bay is playing through his shoes…all of their offensive call ups seem to be contributing more than they could ever dream. Nick Green is hitting around .300?? Jeff Bailey has like 4 home runs in maybe 13 ABs or so…Beckett and Lester seem to be coming around their last few starts…

        Our team is far better…on paper…and performance. Yet they win the games they should lose. That’s why they’re still tied in first with us. I guess we’ve won a few games we should have lost too…but I don’t know. They just never look like they should win these games. Flukes, injured superstars not playing on the teams they are facing constantly, etc. They just get a lot of breaks their way…and we really don’t. That’s basically what it comes down to.

        • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

          in my mind bay playing out of his shoes is great for us. because it is 1 season and he is not that good, nor will he prob keep it up for the whole season. He will be seeking OBNOXIOUSLY large sums of money as a free ahgent and boston will not resign him or they will drastically overpay while he reverts to the mean.

          its a cycle, everyone comes bakc down to earth. since may 1 greens avg has gone from 304 to 288. Jeff bailey ahs 3 hr in 81 plate appearances and is hitting 188/309/391.

          • Axl

            Well the point is…they pretty much have embarrassed the Yankees in every game they’ve played against them thus far…and that’s WITH their terrible starting pitching. Come from behind wins off Rivera again, coming back from down 6 runs, stealing home, sweeping us in the first series ever in the new Yankee Stadium, etc. It just hasn’t looked good all year yet…

            • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

              so what? ill go 0-18 against the red sox every year if that means finishing in first place and winning 90+ games. without question.

              • Axl

                Yeah, but what are the odds of that happening? Around 0%

                • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

                  your percentages are off. because there is only a 0% chance of there being a 0% chance of that happening. Boom

                • Axl

                  Around 0%

                  When somebody says they’ll meet you at the bar “around” 8…are you going to start arguing semantics with them too? lol

                • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

                  so you’re saying there is LESS THAN 0% chance of that happening?

                  or are you saying there is a 1.5-2.2784% chance of that happening?

                  either answer is patently absurd.

                  I’m going be scientifically accurate and precise:

                  There is a one in a brazilian chance of the Yankees going 0fer against the Sox for a year in the rest of my lifetime.

              • handtius

                I concur.

    • JP

      You still gotta play the games. Maybe Wang gets shelled up there. So what. We shell their starter. I’m not a Wang cheerleader by any means but I say you put him out there and expect to win. Screw the goatees.

      • Axl

        Yeah, but what about 2005? Sox already have a 5-0 lead in head-to-head. And we’re currently TIED right now in 1st place as well. Do we really want to hand them more nearly guaranteed wins?

  • Axl

    Wang starting at Fenway doesn’t make any sense. He used to get shelled when he was on point. Now Girardi and company are going to throw him out there after he’s been getting tanked around? How do they come up with some of these decisions? Is there a monkey pressing buttons behind a curtain or something? (no reference to the new york post obama political cartoon)

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

      (no reference to the new york post obama political cartoon)

      Heh. I honestly wouldn’t have thought of that had you not brought it up.

    • whozat

      Because they didn’t think that waiting two weeks was likely to improve the situation? That Wang would just lose more arm strength, thus making it so that they had to actually spend three weeks or more stretching him back out to go 100 pitches, instead of coping with one short start.

      • Axl

        Assuming that “Wang needs more arm strength so we’re pitching him in Boston” is them HOPING that he pitches well. But Wang has never pitched well there…and he DOESN’T have that arm strength…and if he lasts only 2 or 3 innings…is he really building anything? So in conclusion: What’s the point?!?!?

        • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

          i thought once the yankees started winning you said you would regain some cognitive ability? come on. youre just peppereing every angle with but whats the point?!?!?!?!?!1

          wnag sucks at fenway?!?!?!!?!?!

          why let him pitch?!?!?!?!1

          the season is over?!?!?!?!?!

          come on. a game against boston is the same as a game against the rays or jays. it means nothing. 1 game. and if that 1 game he loses means that thats 5 or more he wins later, then SIGN ME UP EVERY TIME

          • Axl

            2005. We’re currently tied in 1st right now. They already have a 5-0 head-to-head lead on us. Why give them more easy wins? If we tied at the end of the year which is definitely possible…we could use some wins. That’s all. Just talking rational sense here. I mean I guess I could say “oh go ahead…throw him out there…who cares if he loses…its just one loss” but why would I do that?

    • JP

      Makes no sense? It’s a long season. What are you going to do, throw Sabathia or Burnett off their rotation? If you think Wang needs to be back in the rotation, do you delay it for a month because you’re scared of the Red Sox?

      I would rather Wang still be pitching in relief now, but he’s in the rotation, and I say f-it, have him pitch in Boston.

      Sometimes, people do better when more is asked of them.

      • Axl

        Sometimes, people do better when more is asked of them.

        I think “more” was asked of him when he was actually the ACE of our staff…and then he was getting shelled at Fenway. LESS is actually being asked from him because his bar is so low…anything at all is almost “more” compared to his past starts this year. Now he’s a rotating tentative maybe 5th starter who may not even keep his job due to horrible performances. When you have this current reputation…”more than what is asked” isn’t really a whole lot. Especially when you compare it to more than what WAS asked of him when he was our ace.

        • JP

          I’m not saying the odds don’t look good with him pitching up there. I’m talking more about the attitude that you have to worry about this one game so much…I’m just saying you treat this like any other game and start the guy who is slotted to go. Maybe we’ll get a pleasant surprise and he’ll give us a good game…maybe the pressure will have a positive effect on him.

          And if he loses the game, so what? Boston is a great team and has a decent chance of beating any of our pitchers. Not saying this is the right way to think, not that I “want” to lose any games, but if you figure you’re going to lose one game up there, I’d rather not have our 3 best pitchers “used up” in the Boston series. You know?

          Just trying to put a positive spin on it. Maybe we’ll catch a break and the Boston pitcher in that game will implode and it’ll be a rout. Happens…

          • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

            there’s no way anybody on our team pitches or plays to the expectations of our opponent, so we’re fooked.

  • kSturnz

    Just more adversity for the franchise, He’ll get it, no te preocupes

    Cuz to tell you the truth brother man, whether it be this year, next year, ten years from now, you’ll never be able to say that these brothers lied to you, jack!

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