• June 5th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on June 5th, 2008 · Comments (14)

    Down by one and down to your last strike of the game. It doesn’t come any closer than that, does it? What a spot for Jason Giambi to deliver a pinch-hit walk-off tater.

    I would like to know when the last time was that a Yankee hit a homerun in the 9th inning, at Yankee Stadium, with 2 outs and a count of 0-2 on them? I found a few recent situations where a Yankee hit a 2-out, 0-2, homer on the road, in the 9th inning. But, nothing for it happening at the Stadium. This was, truly, a special moment for Giambi.

    Now, to the bigger issue: Chien-Ming Wang.

    This is four bad starts in a row for him. Did he even try the Hsiung Huang Wine?

    You have to wonder about Wang at this point. Maybe this is why the Yankees didn’t want to offer him an extension this spring? Is it true that he has a torn rotator cuff that has never been repaired? Is that becoming an issue for him now?

    In any event, how about Kevin Youkilis and Manny Ramirez acting like guests on Jerry Springer today? I can’t wait to hear what that was all about.

    Comments on June 5th vs. The Blue Jays

    1. June 5th, 2008 | 11:57 pm

      I don’t think Wang’s problem is a torn rotator cuff. Even if he did have a torn rotator cuff, I wouldn’t say that’s the cause of the problems.

      What’s happening to Wang is exactly what I have been expecting for years and have been complaining about to an email friend for years. I may have also done some complaining here and at NDF, the latter being more likely, but I’m not certain of that.

      There has NEVER been a single case of any pitcher in baseball history who has had a good career while being as bad as Wang at SO/9 vs. the league average. It’s not even a situation where most pitchers as bad as him don’t have good careers. It’s not that it’s just difficult to find such pitchers.

      It’s unprecedented in baseball history.

      Some, but not many, pitchers have been really bad at SO/9 vs the league average and put together a streak of 2-3 successful seasons. But, you literally have to define success to be even just 1 RSAA in order to come up a list as large as just 9 pitchers who had 3 “successful” years in a row (Wang being the 9th). And, when coming up that list, I had to set the bar for SO/9 IP at -1.75 vs. the league and even that is setting the bar comfortable above Wang’s pathetic career rate of -2.45. And that’s also setting a 100 IP bar, instead of 162, so we can gerrymander the list to get Wang into it.

      If we were to predict that Wang would give birth on the mound at Yankee Stadium, that would actually be no more unprecedented than it would be for a pitcher with his kind of SO/9 vs. the league figures to end up with a good career.

    2. susanmullen
      June 6th, 2008 | 12:08 am

      On May 17, 2002 at Yankee Stadium v Twins, bottom of the 14th. Only 1 out though. Yankees trailing 12-9. Giambi hit walk-off grand slam. I don’t know the strike count.

    3. baileywalk
      June 6th, 2008 | 12:33 am

      Incredibly entertaining brawl in Fenway today. For all the love Sean Casey gets for being a nice guy, he was as much of a cheap-shot bitch as Johnny Gomes today. While that idiot Gomes took shots at a pinned-down Crisp, Casey clearly takes a shot at a pinioned James Shields.

      But it was better than the normal, absurd push-and-shove baseball fight.

    4. June 6th, 2008 | 7:00 am

      ~~On May 17, 2002 at Yankee Stadium v Twins, bottom of the 14th. Only 1 out though. Yankees trailing 12-9. Giambi hit walk-off grand slam. I don’t know the strike count.~~

      It was 0-0.

    5. JeremyM
      June 6th, 2008 | 7:38 am

      It will be interesting to see how Bob Watson chooses to punish the Sox as well as the Rays. If it was the Yankees, we’d probably be looking at a couple lifetime bans right now.

    6. MJ
      June 6th, 2008 | 7:40 am

      The guys at River Ave attribute some of Wang’s problems to Dave Eiland. I have no idea if they’re right or wrong but count me among those that are underwhelmed with Eiland. Mel-Gator-Eiland all seem unable to make adjustments to the pitchers in their charge.

    7. MJ
      June 6th, 2008 | 7:41 am

      It will be interesting to see how Bob Watson chooses to punish the Sox as well as the Rays. If it was the Yankees, we’d probably be looking at a couple lifetime bans right now.
      =========================================
      Agree completely. Moreover, since this is Gomes’s second? third? altercation this year, there should be a penalty for that too…but there won’t be.

    8. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      June 6th, 2008 | 7:48 am

      I’ve agreed with Lee for a long time that it was unlikely for Wang to have continued success, for the reason he mentioned. But I was rather surprised when I took a look at his stats yesterday.

      His strikeout ratio has been rising for three years, and is over 5 to date this year. I think its hard to point to his K rate as the reason unless the K rate had never moved off the very low numbers he had posted before.

      But look at his ground out to fly out ratio:
      3.08, 2.84, 2.36, 1.69.

      Make that a pretty pedestrian 1.69 to date.

      Quite simply, Wang has been elevating more and more and its gotten worse this season. Whether that’s due to an injury or not I don’t know, but I’d be more concerned about his groundball ratio than his strikeout ratio right now.

      Anyway – a helluva win to pull out, from the 7-2 deficit to Farnsworth giving up the insurance run to two outs, no one on in the ninth. So congratulations, enjoy it, and we’ll see if the Yanks can build on this. KC coming to the Stadium is seemingly the perfect opportunity to get some distance over .500 but baseball is a funny game, like it was yesterday.

    9. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      June 6th, 2008 | 7:52 am

      As for the brawl, I think we’re actually looking at Gomes getting as bad a penalty as anyone, maybe worse even. Around five games for Coco and Shields, at least that many for Gomes. I didn’t see Casey take a shot at Shields but if it happened, I’m sure he’ll get three. As we all know, there will be penalties for things that no one really sees on the video.

    10. hopbitters
      June 6th, 2008 | 12:03 pm

      Ray Murphy had another theory about Wang in the 2007 Ron Shandler Baseball Forecaster. His admittedly small sample size analysis seemed to indicate that Wang has the ability to strike out batters at a higher rate, but chooses to try to induce the ground ball in typical situations (speculation : to reduce pitch count). In situations where a ground ball out wouldn’t suffice, he was more likely to go for a strikeout…at least according to the analysis. I can’t say it was a very strong or convincing analysis, but it is was an interesting read.

      -

      I was watching the Sox-Rays game on mlb.tv (on the free trial). It was an odd little spat.

      I give Shields slight credit for not headhunting, but if you’re going to hit him, why in the world would you do it in the second inning? Of course, nobody but Shields can say for sure, but I feel pretty confident that was intentional. I’m not sure it warranted charging the mound at that point, but if somebody plunked me in a pretty obvious manner, I can’t say I wouldn’t have.

      I scored the initial fight 10-8 Crisp. Not only did he dodge the initial wild roundhouse from Shields, but it looked like he got a few shots in before Navarro caught up. Shields gets a point deducted for throwing hay with his pitching hand. The correct procedure would have been to use the glove to the face with the pitching hand and an inside hook with the non-pitching hand.

      I think Gomes just likes hitting people. I see him getting a long visit to the principal’s office. I couldn’t tell from the video, but Crawford was mentioned as jumping in as well. I didn’t see anything from Casey either, but there was a whole lot going on.

    11. June 6th, 2008 | 12:28 pm

      i really doubt it’s Wang inability to K hitters that has him struggling. his k/9 has gone up 3 straight years and is well above his career avg.

      his biggest problem is control/command. along with his k/9 rising, his bb/9 and Fly ball rates have risen the last 3 seasons. his BAA, BABIP and FIP are all in line with his career averages. this jives with my eyes: he’s doesn’t have the command/control right now he did earlier (notably that CG in boston). his sinkers are too high and he’s walking too many. whether that’s something to be concerned about (injury) or just a slump i dont know.

    12. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      June 6th, 2008 | 12:57 pm

      hobbitters,
      From the brawl, would you have guessed that Coco won 17 amateur fights, all by KO? That was being reported by both Boston papers this morning. He definitely didn’t come out to play patty cake.

      And Shields made no bones about his intent afterwards. It surely would have been smarter for the second best starter, entrusted to try to avoid a sweep, to have waited til the third time through the lineup to dust Crisp. And you can look for Crawford and Iwamura to miss time too. Apparently there was scratching and hair pulling go on under the pile.

    13. hopbitters
      June 6th, 2008 | 2:22 pm

      He did look like it wasn’t his first dance, so I’m not really surprised. I always find it amusing when somebody charges the mound only to get there and have no idea what to do next. Crisp was clearly not in that category.

    14. butchie22
      June 6th, 2008 | 3:43 pm

      The problem that I have with this victory is that it is an empty one.The Yanks and the Jays had no business winning this game.A loss would have been a better thing for the long term because this hyped up win camouflaged a lot of problems:

      1 Wang.Wang was terrible.The Jays have a little above average offense(that’s being kind) and when Cabrera dropped that ball,the roof came off!There is something wrong with Wang’s mechanics and that has to be sorted out.

      2 Cano.Cano bunting?Why is someone of his “caliber” asked to bunt?He shouldn’t be bunting BUT when he did he messed up.His Baseball IQ is starting to seem to be quite low relative to his raw talent.

      3 The Bullpen(Farnsworth);This game became reachable for the Yanks(yeah BJ Ryan is one of the best,but hey this was a crazy game) because of some dumb luck.Stairs ground rule double saved Farnsworth’s bacon,that’s a bigger hit otherwise.Melky,who is both goat and hero in this game made a great catch to minimize the damage.In real terms however ,Farnsworth did a terrible job and that is not a good sign for the rest of the season.
      4The Texas Rangers style play.The Jays have the best pitching in baseball,but they were off for a couple of games.The problem is that the Yankees won this game with the 5 home run concept instead of using smart defense with timely hitting and great pitching.It reminded me more of the Texas Rangers circa the 90s versus the Dynasty Yankees of the 90s-00s.

      5 The playoffs,one can never count the Yankees out,so let’s say they make the playoffs.Are they gonna be able to play this sloppy brand of baseball in October?Heck no!This to me was not the best win this season BUT the worst why?If they lost this battle,more of these shortterm problems would be resolved BUT now,there seems to jubilation but it needs reflection.The Yankees were extremely lucky to win this game(the Jays would have if they had won it too) but these same problems will persist.

      It was funny to note that Sterling,Waldman and Francesa were resigned to the fact the Yankees would lose it.Ryan is no chump,but hey anything can happen that’s why the ball is round.It was nice that they won,but it obscured how badly they played and that is more potentiously dangerous in winning a battle than winning the war.

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