Can’t sweep if you don’t take the first one

Despite the outcome, last night was scary. It seemed that there was a potential disaster around every corner, with Wang stranding five men in the first two innings — both times after easily recording the first two outs of the respective inning. He threw just 57 percent of his pitches for strikes. He gave up seven hits and three walks in his six and a third innings.

Such is the cost of a new approach. And for the Red Sox, against whom Wang had piled up a 5.05 ERA prior to last night, it was a necessary adjustment. That didn’t make the torture of sitting in the stands any less, but in the end it paid off.

He used over 18 pitches per inning last night, as opposed to a hair under 14 per inning last season. Even more against the Wang norm, he recorded nine ground outs to five fly outs (1.80 ratio), whereas last year his ratio was 3.06. He still has a 2.42 ratio this year.

The night wasn’t all about Wang, though. It was about Giambi hitting a monster blast. It was about Alex giving the Yanks an early lead. It was about Cano putting together a hitting streak. It was about Damon not looking washed up. It was about getting two-out hits with men on. It looks like the offensive wheels are turning again.

This is nice, because the pitching is ready, too. Roger will be back in a week (hard to believe), and Phil Hughes officially began his rehab stint yesterday, meaning we’ll see him back in roughly four weeks, give or take a few days. Until then, the Yanks have Tyler Clippard and/or Matt DeSalvo to plug the dam.

Mussina vs. Tavarez tonight. Hey, A-Rod, listen up: Tavarez is going to go high and tight on you. Don’t freak out like a little girl when he does.

Last 7 Days
Posada: 417/500/875
Damon: 333/417/381
Phelps: 333/333/667
Jeter: 308/438/577
Cano: 296/296/593
Abreu: 292/393/458

Matsui: 290/312/484
Alex: 222/344/556
Giambi: 200/467/500
Melky: 167/231/500
Minky: 077/200/154

Down on the Farm

Mini-Moose is your FSL Pitcher of the Week:

Florida State League
Ian Kennedy, Tampa
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13.2 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 20 SO
Kennedy, the Yankees’ first-round draft choice in 2006, was dominant in each of his two starts this week. The USC product struck out 11 over 6 2/3 scoreless innings against Dunedin on Tuesday and followed that up by whiffing nine over seven shutout frames in Jupiter on Sunday. Kennedy’s 1.24 ERA is the league’s best, and his five wins are tied for the most in the circuit.

Cool part is he hasn’t even been the Yanks best pitcher in the minors… 

Triple-A Scranton (3-1 win over Richmond)
Kevin Reese: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB
Andy Phillips: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Eric Duncan: 0 for 2, 2 BB, 1 SB – has reached base 7 times in last 3 games…
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 3B
Eric Junge: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 7-4 GB/FB – in case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced “Young”
Everyday Kozlowski: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K – he probably won’t be with the organization next year, but he’s done a heck of a job and it hasn’t gone unnoticed
Jim Brower: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

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Is that right, fatass?

From the Daily News:

“I’ve been here for five years and we don’t need to worry about nobody right now. Everybody needs to worry about us.”
-David Ortiz

If that’s not a bulletin board quote, I don’t know what is.

But wait, there’s more. From The Boston Globe:

“…the Red Sox pretty much have cemented themselves in a position where I don’t think they can be caught.”
-John Smoltz

Gee, sounds like Smoltzy is starting to sound like CHB.

Hat tip (begrudgingly so) to The Joy of Sox.

I told ya they’d win!

Okay, let’s take a deep breath. We’ve seen this happen before. The Yanks put up an impressive win following a disappointing loss (i.e., the double header in Chicago) and we think it’s the start of a run, only to be disappointed a few days later. No, I’m not trying to take the wind out of everyone’s sails. It was a damn good win last night, the kind the Yanks should be having all freakin’ season. And who knows, maybe they do turn this ship around, sweep the Red Sox, and continue on a path of prosperity.

As we all saw, it began with Tyler Clippard. I’ll be honest: I hadn’t seen much of him beyond a handful of video clips before this start. He looked okay in those videos, but for the most part I agreed with Mike: he’s not blowing anyone away up there, and when you have a righty like that, his long-term success is almost a crapshoot. Yes, it’s possible, but when so many similar guys fail, it has to raise a red flag.

Joe Morgan seemed fixated on one aspect of Clippard’s delivery (and, of course, the most obvious one): that he falls off to both sides of the mound. Joe further observed that he fell off to one side for the two-seamer and the curve (or was it the two-seamer and the change?) and the other side for the four-seamer and the change (or the curve). Did anyone else make that observation? And, if he does go a certain way for each pitch, will that tip off batters once they get used to him? Further, can he mix it up later in a game so that he catches guys trying to guess? Those are all questions that will be answered in his next few starts.

I do have to say, though, that I’m glad we have him in the rotation over Rasner. We’re much better off with Clippard, a promising 22-year-old, than Rasner, a 26-year-old who is a known quantity at this point. Rasner may find some success as a spot starter, but he always leaves you feeling uneasy out there. Even when he shut out Seattle, it wasn’t like he was demonstrably dominant.

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