When Mariano Rivera entered last night’s A’s-Yankees game in the ninth inning to protect a two-run lead,
he set yet another first in his careerhe did something he’s done just two other times in his career. It was the third time Rivera had ever pitched on four consecutive games in four days. I sure hope Joe’s willing to give him a day off today.
Update: Gary C notes in the comments that I misinterpreted the Baseball-Reference.com Play Index results. This is actually the third time Rivera’s thrown in four straight games. This post has been updated to reflect this information. · (23) ·
As wind, lightening and rain shook the New York area shortly before 10 p.m. on Tuesday, 3000 miles away, the Yankees and the A’s prepared to battle. The Yanks came out of the gate strong, scoring two runs in the top of the first to spot their recently-struggling ace to a 2-0 lead before Chien-Ming Wang even had to throw a pitch.
The top of the first was a little dicey, and as I sat on my couch watching, I grew a bit concerned. Wang hit the first batter of the game and then recorded three outs in a row, but the outs were of the loud variety. The A’s hit three fly balls off of Wang who was, once again, leaving his pitches up in the zone.
But as the first inning rolled into the second, something clicked, and Wang re-emerged as a dominant starter. Over the next 6.1 innings, until being lifted following just the fifth fly-ball out he would induce all night, Wang turned in one of his ground ball clinics. He recorded 15 outs via the ground ball and commanded four double plays off the bats of the A’s hitters. The sinker-ball specialist had gotten just four double plays over his last seven starts combined.
When the 8th inning rolled around and Wang was at 83 pitches and clinging to a one-run lead, I thought a complete game might be within his reach. Mariano the Great had thrown in three straight games, and Wang was rolling. But Jack Hannahan’s deep fly-out brought Joe Girardi out of the dugout and Jose Veras out of the bullpen. Veras pitched into and out of a bit of trouble, and with Kyle Farnsworth available today, I’m beginning to wonder if Veras is now the Yanks’ 8th inning guy. Following a Melky Cabrera home run — his first since May 4 — Rivera nailed down the save for his fourth appearance in as many days.
All in all, this is exactly the kind of game the Yankees needed. They needed Wang to re-emerge as that front-line starter; they needed to start the Oakland/Houston road trip off right; and they needed to capitalize on a night when Boston and Tampa both lost. So once again the Yanks are one game over .500, and hopefully, they can reach that two-games-over plateau tomorrow.
In Baseball America’s latest Organization Report (subscription req’d), Humberto Sanchez said he was targeting June 10th for return to game action. Didn’t happen…
Triple-A Scranton (8-5 loss to Richmond)
Bernie Castro: 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 CS – picked off second
Brett Gardner: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 K
Alberto Gonzalez: 2 for 2, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 E (fielding) -
Jason Lane: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K, 1 E (throwing) – with Ben Broussard released (who was raking, by the way), he’s back to cleanup duty
Matt Carson: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 K
Eric Duncan: 0 or 3, 1 BB, 1 K – turned an unassisted double play at first
Jeff Marquez: 5 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 8-6 GB/FB – no strikeouts & a weak GB/FB ratio? ouch babe
Steven White: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 3-0 GB/FB, 1 E (pickoff) – 53 baserunners allowed in his last 22.2 IP, good for a 2.34 WHIP
Scott Strickland: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP – 15 of 19 pitches were strikes (78.9%)
Time Warner is having some issues in my area tonight, so I can’t get any more done than this. Here’s the box scores for AA, A+ and A-. A rather unspectacular day if you ask me. I was really looking forward to Sanchez’s Yankee debut…
Ah, our first 10:05 game time of the season. Hey, we even forgot to throw up the game thread until just about the first pitch!
And on the mound, number forty, Chien-Ming Wang.
As Ben mentioned earlier, Yanks’ Scouting Director Damon Oppenheimer chatted today over at the official site, taking fans’ questions about last week’s first year player draft. Obviously there was only so much he could reveal, so the answers aren’t all that juicy, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some good info provided.
You can see the full transcript here, but here’s a few things that stood out to me:
mike: So when do you get to work on the ’09 Draft class?
Oppenheimer: We have been working on it the last two years, but we will really start this Thursday, with the High School Showcase in Minnesota.
That was my question, so I’m obligated to post it. It makes sense that they would start scouting players in advance, but it shows you just how far in advance they start to look. Were they scouting Gerrit Cole as a 14-yr old? Probably. I know they had their first report on Austin Jackson when he was 12.
You probably won’t be shocked to learn of Mussina’s contempt for the always-injured Pavano, but you’ll laugh nonetheless. When Mussina was negotiating a new contract with the Yankees in October 2006, Brian Cashman offered him a two-year, $18-million package.
“Brian, you’re not paying me less than you’re paying Carl Pavano,” Mussina responded. “Don’t insult me.” Mussina wound up re-signing for two years and $23 million.
More disturbing is the tale that Andrew notes on SPA about Chien-Ming Wang‘s not expecting to pitch his disastrous Game 4 of the ALDS last year. But that’s Yankee history.
While I’ve long thought of Mussina as something of a curmudgeon, this tale and the whole white board thing he’s got going on this year make me think that perhaps the Yankee win leader has a sense of humor after all.
Maury Brown, the man behind the excellent Biz of Baseball site, sat down with Tim Marchman for a Q-and-A on New York sports. Marchman is, in my opinion, one of the more under-appreciated columnists in New York, mostly because he writes for The Sun, a paper that doesn’t get the same level of attention as the other New York dailies.
Marchman, who’s just a few years older than the three of us, talks about his journey to the sports pages of The Sun from Allegheny College and, of course, the state of New York baseball this season.
Draft signings are starting to trickle in: David Adams and Addison Maruszack, the Yanks’ 3rd & 17th round picks, respectively, have agreed to terms (don’t know the signing bonuses). Adams had a subpar junior year at Virginia, hitting only .286-.384-.411 with a 39-41 K/BB ratio after posting consecutive seasons with .950+ OPS’s as a freshman & sophomore. Maruszack, who you may remember from the Yanks’ ST game against the University of South Florida, hit .364-.474-.494 this year, and is a prime candidate for conversion to catcher.
(h/t the posters at NYYFans’ MiL Forum) · (7) ·
One of their injured young guns took a first step forward yesterday afternoon. Ian Kennedy, recovering from bursitis and a strained lat, threw a 30-pitch array of changeups and fastballs in front of his pitching coaches. He will now return to Tampa to continue his rehab at the Yankee complex, but larger questions loom on the horizon. Right now, Kennedy has no place in the rotation, and the righty, who struggled prior to his injury, will have to earn a spot on the club. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for him to make a few starts in Scranton to regain that ol’ confidence and refine his stuff once he is eligible to come off the DL. · (40) ·