YES Network: We know a squirrel seems to live on top of the right field foul pole. This is New York; there are lots of squirrels. Please get over it.
I love Chien-Ming Wang doubters simply because his success makes their collectives heads explode.
Wang, the devastatingly effective sinkerballer, has one again this year emerged as the ace of a talented and expensive Yankee rotation. After last night’s masterpiece – 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER – Wang is now 17-6 with a 3.69 ERA. As Peter Abraham noted, Wang has become a true Yankee stopper. He is 8-2 in 11 starts following Yankee losses.
But still the doubters counter with his strike-out numbers. He shouldn’t be this good, they say. He struck out one Mariner in 7.1 innings. His season’s K/9 IP stands at a meager 4.51 – a marked increase over last year’s 3.14 number but still a low total. But still, Wang stands tall with 17 wins, first among Major Leaguers. And for good measure, he’s nearly topped his stellar 2006 season after missing his first four starts due to a hamstring injury.
So how does he do it? Well, you and I know it: It’s the groundballs, stupid. Last night’s game showed the beauty of those groundballs. Wang induced 17 groundballs while giving up just three flyballs (and one home run to a righty for just the second time this year). His defense turned three double plays behind him, and the Mariners simply could not deal with his sinker.
I love it. I love how Wang gets one double play every 5.78 innings. I love the 2.69 GB/FB ratio which is lower this year than last because his strike out numbers are mercifully on the rise. I love how opponents have managed to hit just .264/.321/.369 off of Wang this year. And I love how the Yankees will be led by Chien-Ming Wang as he tries to deliver the team to the postseason all while gunning for 20 wins.
Watching young pitchers develop into top-notch starters is one of the sheer pleasures of baseball, and that’s what we’re seeing now in a pitcher who has now won 36 games since April of 2006. That’s what we’re seeing in a pitcher who’s given up 2 ER over his last 22.1 IP. The Ace has definitely arrived.
The final BA Hot Sheet of the season highlights the players who had the best overall seasons in the minors this year (as opposed to the best week). IPK & Joba come in at numbers 4 & 5 respectively, which is just insane. Yankee farmhands had 2 of 5 best seasons in all of minor league baseball. Ridiculous.
Evan Longoria (#6) & Wade Davis (#12) of Tampa Bay are the next highest ranked pair of organization-mates. As a bit of gravy, Red Sox prospects had 2 of the most disappointing years.
Triple-A Scranton was off, and will take on Richmond tomorrow in Game 1 of their first round, best-of-five matchup. Chad Jennings has the potential pitching matchups, and notes that Austin Jackson & Eric Hacker were sent down in favor of Frankie Cervelli (that’s one hell of a surprise) and Sean Henn.
We pick up the action in the top of the 5th…Wang’s on his game and Georgie’s already juiced one for a 1-0 lead.
Michael Kay’s currently blabbing about how Wang’s ERA is so ridiculously low when he pitches from the windup compared to when he’s pitching from the stretch. Read this to unstupify yourself.
Forbes.com has named Curt Schilling as one of the ten most despised athletes around. Using such phrases as “a mouthy, attention-getting self-promoter who brags about his work ethic,” the article offers up a profile of the Curt Schilling we know and hate. With a passion. · (8) ·
When the Yanks, with the help of the City of New York, grabbed the Macombs Dam Park and appropriated it for their new ballpark, they agreed to pay back the Bronx through money that will go toward new parkland. Seventeen months later, the Yankees and the Bronx have yet to fulfill that promise.
Metro has a little bit more:
Central to [the new Yankee Stadium] deal was the promise of an annual $800,000 for Bronx nonprofits over the next 40 years. Critics labeled this a “slush fund,” because the money would be doled out by a new not-for-profit staffed by representatives of Bronx elected officials, and it didn’t have to be spent in the affected community. The funds were to start flowing, the agreement said, “upon the commencement of the construction.”
So imagine the surprise of Geoffrey Croft last week, when he discovered — one full year after the stadium’s groundbreaking — no such not-for-profit has been registered with the state yet, and no funds have been disbursed.
While I may object to the new stadium on the grounds that it’s simply not necessary – and an average home attendance of 52,645 would bear me out – the Yanks have continually stiffed the Bronx community on this deal. As the article notes, the city gave up the parkland to the Yanks with no public hearing.
Now, you may fault community silence, and it does seem that these Save Our Parks folks haven’t gotten nearly the attention they deserve. But the Yanks owe it to the city to make up for the missing parkland. At a deep discount, they’re taking public lands. They should replace it sooner than 17 months after construction started on the new stadium.
Peter Abraham has a few choice words from Mike Mussina:
“We’re leading the wild card now and we want to stay after it. The last four days we haven’t played very well. We’ve been flat it seems like. We’ve got to get our heads on right and play with some energy.”
I was all set to write a post on this tonight, but Mussina summed up my feelings in fewer words. After dropping three of four this weekend, panic has set in a bit among Yankee fans. But the Yanks still lead the Wild Card, and they will win games. I think we’re see a re-energized Yankee team take the field behind Chien-Ming Wang on Tuesday night. Time to go for the kill. · (11) ·
After giving up five runs in four innings, Roger Clemens left the game today. His first stop: New York-Presbyterian Hospital for an MRI. Even if it comes up completely clean, he’ll miss his next start. Mike Mussina, who didn’t look very impressive but at least was hitting 88 and 89 on the YES gun in his 3.2 innings, will start in his place. · (1) ·
Today was the last day of the regular season for the 4 full season affiliates, who finished the year with a combined 329-236 record. As I said the other day, that record shows not only how much depth & talent the Yanks have in the minors, but it’s also a testament to the quality of coaching and instruction they have in place.
DotF will of course keep you updated on all the minor league playoff action.
Triple-A Scranton (8-5 win over Pawtucket) Scranton will take on Richmond in the first round of the AAA playoffs, which kicks off on Wednesday…Chad Jennings reports the that postseason rotation could be Steven White in Game 1, followed in order by The Ghost of Kei Igawa, Mighty Matt DeSalvo & Jeff Karstens
Brett Gardner: 4 for 5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 3 SB
Austin Jackson: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 SB - even if it was just a 1 game cameo, how many of you had Ajax finishing the year in AAA?
Bronson Sardina: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 SB - his year was a lot better than it appears on the surface
Mike Kinkade: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 2 for 2, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB - finished the year on a nice little 26 for 100 streak with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 24 RBI, 10 walks & 23 K
Andy Cannizaro: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B
Anthony Claggett: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HB – 41 of 63 pitches were strikes (65.1%)
Eric Hacker: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Ben Kozlowski: 1.1 IP, zeroes