Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tampa Bay Series Wrap Up

After a disastrous 15-5 loss on Monday night, the Yankees came back strong behind A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte to win their first series with Tampa this season. While Monday night's game was just a mess, the pitching of Nick Swisher proved that he is clearly the greatest player to ever put on a Yankee uniform. This may or may not be hyperbole, but I don't care. After all, I am the self-appointed president of the Nick Swisher Fan Club, right?

SERIES POSITIVES: Two thirds of the starters in this series did a fantastic job. The two combined to allow just 5 runs in 15.1 innings (2.98 ERA), while surrendering only 9 hits and 2 walks between them (.728 WHIP) and striking out 13 (7.8 K/9, 6.5 K/BB). Both Burnett and Pettitte have been incredibly sharp in their first two starts, both of which came after awful outings from Chien Ming Wang. Which brings us to...

SERIES NEGATIVES: Chien Ming Wang. While Dave Eiland said he looked good in the bullpen before the game, Wang just couldn't get it right on the mound. He allowed 8 runs in just 1 inning of work (three of which scored on a grand slam by Carlos Pena, given up by Jonathan Albaladejo). That's two bad starts in a row for Wang, but we all seem to know what the problem is: Wang isn't getting on top of his pitches, leaving his release point too high, and it's leaving his sinker up in the zone to get crushed.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Yankees open up the new Stadium today against the Indians. This game features a great pitching matchup between the last two AL Cy Young Award winners: CC Sabathia (2007) and Cliff Lee (2008). Lee has looked pretty bad in his two starts so far in '09, giving up 17 hits and 5 walks in only 10 innings of work. On the plus side, he has struck out 10 batters, good for a 9.0 K/9. Lee's FIP stands at 4.13, though, so some positive correction for his 9.90 ERA should be coming--let's just hope it's not today! Go Yanks!

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