Showing posts with label Chien Ming Wang. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chien Ming Wang. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Poll Results and Thoughts

Okay so my latest set of polls has closed, time to look at the data.

For question 1, I asked you all how many innings you think CC will pitch in 2009. 10 out of 18 said 201-220, which is probably about right. For question 2,regarding Burnett's strikeouts, it was a little closer. There were 11 total votes and 4 said 181-200, and 4 said 201+. I'd be more likely to fall into the 181-200 category, but at the rate A.J. is pitching, 201+ seems reachable, no? The Gardner questions almost seem to be a moot point, considering the poor rate of Gardner's hitting so far in '09. Out of the 12 votes regarding steals, no one said BG would get less than 21 steals, and 3 brave souls predicted 40+. 8 of 12 said Gardner would hit his first homer in his first 50 at bats. Gardner's at 45 right now (50 plate appearances) so he could still do it before the 50 AB mark is eclipsed.

OTHER THOUGHTS

Via Pete Abe, Wang's next start will in fact be skipped. I think this is a smart move. The rain and the off day will line everyone up to pitch on full rest and Wang needs a day off. I know he wants to pitch and wants to get out there, but...no. He can't try to work out the kinks against the Red Sox in Fenway. Boston's scored at least 5 runs in 5 of their last 6 games, including double digit scores (10 and 12) twice. It looks as though their bats are starting to wake up and Wang would only help that. Wang has also struggled in Fenway for his career. Pitching in Boston, Wang has a 5.11 ERA, a 1.523 WHIP, and a .60 K/BB. Skipping Wang in Boston can only help the Yankees.

Like I said yesterday, I'd give him one, two his next start is good, before the Yankees find some reason to put him on the DL and let him work his stuff out in Tampa. This could give him time away from the big league club to work out his issues (which seem to be his release point, the elevation on his pitches, his hands, his arm, his body, his landing....everything) without the pressure of pitching in games that matter. It would also give Phil Hughes some Major League innings, which a) would be good for him and b) probably couldn't be any worse than what Wang did. If Wang was running out there giving starts like Ponson and Rasner did last year, that'd be "alright." But lasting no more than 3.2 innings this season is just unacceptable. In Scranton, Hughes is pitching to the tune of a 2.31 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, a 6/1 K/BB, and a 9.64 K/9.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cleveland Series Wrap Up and Xavier Nady Musings

The Yankees just finished their first series in the new Stadium and it was "meh" to say the least. I was at my girlfriend's house, and was able to watch Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It was good to see some games in person and not have to follow Gameday Audio or Gameday itself. Joba's struggle with command was troubling, but that's gonna happen every so often. Saturday was, well, ugh. Sunday was better. It was nice to see that Burnett didn't fall apart despite walking seven. Granted, those types of days are the exceptions and not the rules.

The new Stadium is definitely playing small, as balls seem to be flying out to right. Maybe it's the weather? Maybe it's the wind? Maybe it's the balls? Maybe it's the players? Who know? But, I say we give it more than one series before we declare the new Stadium Arlington North or Coors East.

SERIES POSITIVES: Well, splitting a four game series is good, I guess. It's generally pretty hard to win three out of four. The offense is still clicking nicely, though, which is good to see. Brian Bruney had a good series; pitching in two games, the right hander threw two perfect innings while striking out two, throwing only 20 pitches between the two outings. Bruney hasn't allowed a baserunner since Opening Day. Are you watching, Wallace Matthews?

SERIES NEGATIVES: Wang. He was just awful again on Saturday. You've gotta wonder if he's near the end of the proverbial rope. I'm assuming (hoping?) that Girardi skips him in Boston this weekend. After that, he'll probably get one or two starts before we all start chanting "We Want Hughes," though I'm sure people are already chanting that.

LOOKING AHEAD: The game tonight against the A's is called, but they've got two more coming up against Oakland. It'll be nice to see the Big-G back in the Bronx and I hope he gets a big hand tomorrow. I feel like the Giambino will always be under-appreciated in the Bronx.

TEAM STATS:
OFFENSE: .260/.342/.475/.817, 110 OPS+, 20 HR, 70 R
PITCHING: 6.54 ERA, 74 ERA+, 1.584 WHIP, 4.3 BB/9, 7.6 K/9, 1.76 K/BB

Nady Musings:

Via Kevin Devaney, Xavier Nady still doesn't have a diagnosis on his right elbow. No matter how much time X misses, it's not good for the Yankees. Sure, I wanted Nick Swisher to play over him, but not this way. While I think Swisher would've eventually played his way into the lineup over Nady--and Swisher is the better player--Xavier's absence hurts. The fourth outfielder is now Melky Cabrera instead of Swish or X. Any time the Yankees have to give more PAs to the Melk-man, it's not a good thing. This could give Damon less time off than Girardi would like, and it most likely means that if Brett Gardner struggles, a trade is going to have to be made. No Nady off the bench means that Swisher and Damon will probably see zero action in CF this year and maybe I'm looking too deep into my fake-crystal ball, but I don't see the Yankees giving Melky the CF job, even if/when Gardner falters. Nady would've also been able to spell Hideki Matsui against tough left handed pitchers if need be. I was never a huge Xavier Nady fan, but his presence on the team was vital to its depth. His injury means more playing time for a lesser player and maybe even an external move. Regardless, I hope X gets a good diagnosis and he's able to play again this season. If not, we've more than likely seen our last of Xavier Nady in the Bronx.

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!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

About Last Night...

BLOWOUT LOSS

Yeah, last night was ugly. Wang couldn't get his sinker down and he got absolutely tagged. There really isn't anything positive to take from last night, is there? At least Nick Swisher pitched a scoreless inning. I think this is concrete proof that he is the greatest player in Yankee history.

The only thing the Yankees can hope to do is rebound tonight with A.J. Burnett on the mound. He righted the ship in Baltimore after Sabathia and Wang had bad games to open the season, so maybe he can do it again. In 2008, A.J. had a 3.15 ERA vs. the Rays, to go along with 26 strikeouts in just 20 innings of work.

TOP OF THE ORDER SLUMPING

Derek Jeter is one for his last 20 with only one walk, while Johnny Damon is two for his last 16, with two walks. With these two slumping, it's gonna be hard for the Yankees to come into some runs--unless of course Nick Swisher keeps hitting.

CODY RANSOM

I didn't watch the game last night, but I followed it on Gameday and briefly listened to Gameday Audio, along with getting relays of the game from my girlfriend via the phone. From what I "watched," listened to, and heard, Cody Ransom is just a mess. Come on, Joe. I know it's early, but it's time to give Cody a game or three off. Put Ramiro Pena in the lineup and see what he can do. There's absolutely no way he could be any worse than Cody Ransom has been.

NICK SWISHER KEEPS HITTING

Swish added his third home run of the year last night, bringing his season line to .450/.542/1.150/1.692, 3 HR, 10 RBI. He's fourth in the AL in average, third in OBP, first in slugging and OPS, fourth in homers and third in RBI. These numbers are obviously going to come down, but they're fun while they last.

And while we can be easily swayed by these early stats, I think Swisher is showing everyone why he should've been the staring RF instead of Xavier Nady. Joe Girardi has said he still sees Xavier as an every day player and won't go with the hot hand. This is something I don't understand. Why not go with the hot hand? It hasn't mattered with Mark Teixeira missing the last two games with a wrist injury and Swisher manning first, but when Tex comes back, Swisher needs to stay in the lineup. Nady's been hitting alright at .280/.308/.440, so maybe he can stay in there. Maybe someone else needs a seat.

HIDEKI MATSUI STRUGGLING

Matsui is hitting only .125/.190/.292 at this point. Perhaps when Tex returns to the lineup (hopefully tonight), Matsui can take a night off and Swisher could take over the DH duties. I doubt this happens, but Girardi needs to find a way to work Swisher into the every day lineup. He's hitting far too well to be kept out of it.

The lesson for the day: Nick Swisher is awesome.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Baltimore Series Wrap Up

AJ Burnett and Nick Swisher saved the season yesterday. The former struck out six in 5.1 innings to earn his first win as a Yankee and Nick Swisher homered and drove in five to help the Yankees to an 11-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Mark Teixeira tied the game at one early on with his first homer as a Yankee. After two bad games, the Yankees looked great yesterday.

SERIES POSITIVES: The offense was great this week, scoring 21 runs across the three games. Obviously, that's a pace that they won't keep up but it's great to see the bats getting going early. Robinson Cano was especially surprising, drawing three walks in the opening series. Hopefully he and Kevin Long worked to develop Robbie's patience and not just a new stance.

SERIES NEGATIVES: CC stumbled in his first start as a Yankee and Chien Ming Wang didn't look great in his first start since my 21st birthday (June 15, 2008). Both struggled with their release points and had trouble keeping the ball low in the zone. I was annoyed, but I'm far from worried. It was the first game for both of them. Chances are, this won't be a trend for CC and the Wanger. The bullpen also had one bad inning, but aside from that, they've been fine.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Yankees take on the Royals for a three game series in KC and since I'm going home for the weekend, I'll be able to watch my first games of the season. I'm pumped. This afternoon, they'll face former mate Sidney Ponson and, if we're lucky, Krazy Kyle Farnsworth will make another appearance for the Royals.

TEAM STATS TO THIS POINT: OFFENSE: .297/.368/.559/.927, 141 OPS+, 6 HR, 21 R -- PITCHING: 6.84 ERA, 67 ERA+ 1.800 WHIP, 5.4 BB/9, 5.8 K/9, 1.O7 K/BB