Monday, October 08, 2007

Wang Save the Yankees

Very interesting game yesterday. Clemens looked every bit his age, as he did much of the year with the Yankees. Good sense probably would have had Hughes making that start anyway, but there are a few factors that sometimes trump good sense. Clemens status and salary are two of those factors. The reverse can be said against Hughes. The facts bear out that Hughes is probably a better pitcher than Rocket right now...October 8th, 2007. It worked out very well. Tonight will be a nail biter.

All the analysts say that Wang's sinker should be in top form on short rest, and there may be some wisdom to that, but I have the jitters about his ability to win a big game for the Yankees right now. I think he's gifted and mentally tough, but I think the jury is still out in this kind of situation. He can make or break his reputation in tonight's game. Paul Byrd, on the other hand, can pull one out of his ass and make Eric Wedge look like a genius. There is no other alternative. If Byrd is awful, and the Yankees end up winning this game, Wedge will look like an idiot, but an idiot that everyone kind of expected to criticize after starting Byrd.

The key to this game will be getting on Byrd early and handing Wang a lead. If that happens, we win. If not, and the reverse is true, we probably lose. I just have a feeling about it.

River Avenue Blues' Joseph P. has a very interesting take on the intentional walk to Matsui last night that set up Cano's big hit. I was sitting next to my wife watching the game and turned to her during the Matsui at bat to criticize Wedge for the move. I explained the strategy behind his decision, but felt that the conventional thinking was not applicable in the context of the Yankee lineup. Matsui was far more likely to hit the ball at someone in that situation, and while you may surrender a run, it is better than pitching to Cano with the bases loaded. Cano (despite my lack of research on his ground ball tendencies) doesn't hit into double plays. He is a line drive gap hitter and is far more likely to get a big hit in that situation than the hobbled Godzilla.

[Editor's Note: I just checked Robbie's GO/AO ratio and see that he had the 8th most ground outs to air outs in the Majors. So much for metrics. My belly full of guts got it right that time. ;)]

Pete Abe over at the LoHud blog has a couple of things that I wanted to comment on. The first is his question about why Don Mattingly gets a bigger ovation than Jeter and A-Rod and company. Pete grew up a Sox fan so it's not surprising that he doesn't understand this. Only a non-Yankee fan would even raise the question. Anyone my age remembers the Yankees when they were good but not great and couldn't get over the hump. One guy carried the torch of Yankee Pride with him during that time. Don Mattingly. That is the tattoo of the 30-something Yankee fan. Mattingly's legacy. Bobby Murcer did it before him. Ask Michael Kay.

The other thing is the excellent discussion on who replaces Clemens on the roster. Pete names names, but in the end goes with Edwar as his choice to replace Rocket over IPK. Kennedy may have never appeared in relief, but his 3-4 innings in a game 5 could be the difference between advancing and going home. Edwar may only get you a few outs, and may also give up a run or two. No thanks.

Go Yankees. We play today. We win today. That's it.


ChrisV82 said...

I'm nervous. We've seen the Yankees come up small against crappy pitchers this season (and others), and Wang just did not have it in Game 1. In fact, during the last month of the season, Wang pitched 25.2 innings and had a 1.48 WHIP.

On the plus side, the Yankees have a potent offense and it's about time they made themselves heard. Now is the chance for Posada, ARod, Jeter, and Matsui to get the big hits they've been lacking this series.

Getting into the playoffs wasn't easy, and I guess it's fitting that this series isn't easy, either. Go Yanks!

P.S. - I thought Kennedy had some kind of shoulder problem, hence why he wasn't on this roster over Veras.

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