Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's About the Pitching, Man

So far we've seen the Yankees in a number of Spring Training games, and we've been around the rotation. As I considered the most recent game, the team's first loss, I realized that I had been glossing over the batting lines in favor of a much heavier scrutiny of the pitchers. I think this is natural, given the fact that, A, pitching is the most important aspect of the game and, B, we all believe the Yankees are going to hit when the season begins. It's the pitching that we want to feel out. Will it be better this year than it has been in recent seasons? What do we have in all our young arms?

I read somewhere that Chien Min Wang was off against Cleveland. Looking at his pitching line, I see that he game up 5 hits and 2 runs over 3 innings of work, and I know Grady Sizemore took him deep in the 1st. With no walks, the hits are not such a big problem to me. It's going to happen. If we stretched out Wang over 7 or 8 innings, I doubt that he'd continue to give up hits at the same pace. I'm really not worried.

To me, the most interesting observations in camp have to be about Igawa, Pavano, Hughes, Clippard, Ohlendorf, and Sanchez. Sanchez is ailing, which is worrisome, but he should get out there sooner or later. In the meantime, we have seen the following ST lines for the other 5 guys.

Igawa (1 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 2ER, 3BB, 3K, no HR)
Pavano (2 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1ER, 2BB, no Ks, no HR)
Hughes (3.1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1ER, 3BB, 2K, no HR)
Clippard (2 IP, no hits, no runs, no BB, 1K, no HR)
Ohlendorf (2 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, no ER, 1BB, 3K, no HR)

Only Hughes has pitched twice, following Wang both times. I'm anxious to see how Clippard follows up his excellent debut. As the innings mount, we'll begin to get a sense of the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation based on this group (plus Sanchez). It may not matter out of camp, but we're watching the beginning of an arms race for the Yankees that is likely to sort itself out by June. I'll keep a tally and some running commentary on these guys as soon as I see a game. I haven't caught a single one of the Yankees outings yet, as I've been either sleeping or at work. My "Tivo" is warm now with two Matsuzaka starts in the books and the Yankees' games are ready to begin at a breakneck pace. Here we go. All aboard.