Flirting

Chien Ming Wang was perfect for seven and a third innings yesterday. It was, for most of the day, a typical Wang affair: efficient, lots of balls on the ground, the occassional strikeout. When he got to the seventh, the unlikely seemed plausible, especially after inducing an easy 4-3 grounder from Ichiro and then, with two outs and a 3-0 count, working back to strike out Raul Ibanez swinging on a nasty sinker after pounding him with a pair of inside fastballs for strikes. I was yelling at the television at that point, but, alas, for the second time in about a week, the Yanks saw a no-hit bid disappear in the late innings; Ben Broussard broke it up with one out in the eighth on a homer off of a changeup. (Jorge!?!) Oh well. The Yanks got a big win, and it’s always better to lose a no-no on a no-doubter, rather than a cheapie. The Sox lost, so the Yanks made up a full game.

The question remains, who are the real Yankees? Wang, Moose, and Pettitte have given the team solid outtings in their last three appearances. If they continue to do that, the Bombers will not be under .500 for long. But the back end of the rotation remains a question. Kei Igawa looked awful on Friday. Darrell Rasner goes today in an effort to save his place on the team. Matt DeSalvo will probably take it with even an adequate performance Monday. The Yanks have now won 4 of their last 5. The next two starts will be interesting bell weathers. We’re hoping the come-ons of the past week will lead to something fruitful. Fingers crossed.

21 comments… add one
  • I feel very good about where the Yanks are at. The lineup is approaching what it should be doing every night. The front three are solid. All they need is to win 50% of the games started by Igawa, Rasner, and DeSalv(O!) and they’ll be in fine shape when Clemens signs and Hughes returns.
    Meanwhile, I’m seeing a Sox lineup with three regulars with OPS+ in the 60’s (Lugo – 65; Crisp – 68; and Pedroia – 67) and one in the 80’s (Varitek – 85). I see alot of close losses, like last night, in the weeks ahead.

    jim - YF May 6, 2007, 11:22 am
  • First, typepad is being very goofy today. Took forever to go from the main page to this.
    It was stated here a week ago that NYY would start to look better soon because they had only Texas and Seattle for two weeks. So this streak is no surprise.
    But until the starting pitching gets more consistent, however that will be, it might be awhile before we see the real NYY. The offense does seem to be showing more consistency. But again: Seattle and Texas.
    Can that pen survive better offenses?
    Jim points out some obvious Sox weaknesses, weaknesses they have overcome with near aplomb. The W-L record is there for all to see. Frankly, NYY has more glaring weaknesses (pen, defense, rotation) that will be even more glaring come August and September if they are not fixed.
    This, of course, is the devil’s advocate perspective. Certainly an argument for NYY optimism can be made.
    Lastly, NYY chaces of getting Clemens are the same as RS: slim. Neither team should count on it. If either gets him, it’s a bonus. The best plans now are to proceed without him. I have no reason to believe that Clemens is playing this waiting game for any other reason than to get attention, to feed his ego. Expect him to stay in Houston. Any other discussion on Clemens at this point is a waste of time.

    I'm Bill McNeal May 6, 2007, 12:30 pm
  • Damon- OPS+ = 97
    Abreu- OPS+ = 82
    Cano- OPS+ = 88
    Melky- OPS+ = 56
    Minky- OPS+ = 71
    My point: It’s freaking May. Manny’s OPS+ is 103 now; I bet a week and a half ago, it was still in the 80’s. Lugo and Drew, who’s been ill (Wakefield was on an IV before his last start, so there’s something pretty brutal going through the clubhouse) are slumping, ala Bobby Abreu and Cano. It happens, and when it happens this early in the season the overall numbers suffer terribly.
    Maybe they will lose a handful of close games over the next week if those guys keep scuffling…or maybe they’ll win them. The way this staff is throwing, it could easily go either way. Bullpen has still been incredible, and that’s with a–compared to the first month–bigger workload going to guys like Snyder, Pineiro, and Romero.

    desturbd1 May 6, 2007, 12:57 pm
  • Bill –
    The argument can also be made about the Yanks’ bullpen that it’s been overworked. If any SOx starter gets hurt, their bullpen will also look very messy very quickly.
    And the defense was yippy to start the season but has been solid since – witness yesteday.
    Francis –
    Mhgdfjhgkfh is what he is. Damon will probably be just a tad better, but not much more than that.
    Cano and Abreu are both much better than they’ve been playing.
    I also could have listed Drew’s and Manny’s average OPS+ but didn’t, because they’ll similarly rebound.
    I honestly don’t think yuou can be so hopeful about Lugo, Crisp, Pedroia, and Varitek.

    jim - YF May 6, 2007, 1:07 pm
  • I had the pleasure of being at yesterday’s gem. Wang looked very impressive. I have never really been a all in Wang supporter due to the low K rate, but I have to say I was really impressed.
    Who are the true Yankees? Well I hope they are a team that can weather the storm until some pitching help makes its way to the Bronx. With the current rotation this team is in a heap of trouble. You can’t ask Moose, Wang and AP to win every game they toe the mound for. You also can’t count on Rasner, DeSalvo and Igawa. So unless this team gets healthy and or finds a number 4 or 5 guy this could be a looooong season for us Yankee fans.

    Triskaidekaphobia May 6, 2007, 1:09 pm
  • Jim, I know you think Lugo’s overpayed and crappy…but his career OPS+ is 91. Even if he has the worst season of his career, I have trouble believing he’ll be a full 20-30 points below that. Further, his BABIP is 70 pts below his career avg; that’ll normalize somewhat, too.
    Why can’t I be optimistic about Pedroia? He’s a rookie, he’s walking a ton, not striking out, and hitting LD’s at a respectable rate. I don’t expect him to put up AS numbers, but I do expect a mid-to high .300’s OBP and doubles power, which is fine from a 2B. As for Crisp, he won’t jump back over 100, but I do think he’ll end up in the high 80’s or low-to-mid 90’s. If his defense stays where it’s at right now, that’s fine by me.
    I know Cano and Abreu will be far better then where they are now; that was mostly my point, though I probably should have made the distinction between them and the other 3. Damon would have be very worried; he was at 120 last season, but it seems like he needs a rest twice a week and that everything from the neck down is falling apart. You might be right about him. Minky is himself…Cabrera, I really don’t think is going to be much better then this. 70’s, maybe. 2 extra-base-hits in 95 ab’s, with one of them coming on a popup that bounced into the stands, does not bode well for him.

    desturbd1 May 6, 2007, 1:27 pm
  • “So unless this team gets healthy and or finds a number 4 or 5 guy this could be a looooong season for us Yankee fans.”
    Trisk, Gordon Edes gave a runown of the starters on the market in today’s Globe. He starts talking about Harden’s high cost and risk, then mentions The Orc, then says:
    “The Giants could make Matt Morris or even Noah Lowry available if they feel they have to have another bat. The Devil Rays would hand you Casey Fossum. The Indians might consider moving Paul Byrd when Jake Westbrook is healed so they have a permanent spot for Fausto Carmona.
    With Jason Schmidt out, the Dodgers likely won’t do anything, but if Schmidt comes back in late May or June, perhaps Brad Penny would be available, though he’s pitching very well. The Royals might deal Odalis Perez or Zack Greinke. The Reds would drive Eric Milton to you. Jon Lieber could be had from the Phillies, but they’d want bullpen help. The Rockies would part with Josh Fogg or (gulp) Byung-Hyun Kim.”

    Tyrel SF May 6, 2007, 1:34 pm
  • 120 for Damon was great year. I’d be happy with 105-110. Cabrera is a part-time player with fine defense – I’m cool with that.
    Drew and Manny I lump with Abreu and Cano – each pair is underperforming.
    Lugo is really bad. I feel very comfortable calling him Rentaria lite. He may be underperforming, but the end result isn’t going to be dramatically different.
    Pedroia – I haven’t seen anything to suggest he’s any more than a 4A. It’s not like he’s even had the first hot streak and then the league adjusted. He’s never hit MLB pitching.
    And I think you have your red-colored glasses on if you think Crisp will approach a 90 OPS+.

    jim - YF May 6, 2007, 1:38 pm
  • Crisp was in the 115-120 range in Cleveland. Then he got hurt and started sucking. He’s been better recently this year–not 100+ better, but a bit better.
    Whatever. We’ll see. I’m not entirely sure it’s fair to call Cabrera just a part-time player, either, given how often Damon sits/DH’s. He’s likely to get 450+ ab’s this year if he doesn’t suck himself out of a job, I think.

    desturbd1 May 6, 2007, 1:43 pm
  • Francis – that was one season for Crisp. Call it his career year based on an early peak.
    And Cabrera, if he gets that many AB’s, he be better – of the 100 OPS+ variety. He’s 23 yo and still developing.

    jim - YF May 6, 2007, 1:51 pm
  • “The argument can also be made about the Yanks’ bullpen that it’s been overworked.”
    True, but given the injury situation, this will need a miracle to right itself quickly.
    “If any SOx starter gets hurt, their bullpen will also look very messy very quickly.”
    Not true. Boston currently has 5 bonifide proven starters. NYY currently has 3.
    “Cano and Abreu are both much better than they’ve been playing. … I honestly don’t think yuou can be so hopeful about Lugo, Crisp, Pedroia, and Varitek.”
    So you’re allowed to have faith and I’m not?
    How about we play by the same rules? That’s your MO, isn’t it. Only YOU can believe in YOUR team. RS fans aren’t allowed the same.
    And as I said, the PROBLEM with NYY is PITCHING. You WIN IN SEPTEMBER with PITCHING. Look it up. It’s in the history books. Stop changing the argument.

    I'm Bill McNeal May 6, 2007, 2:39 pm
  • I don’t know about a miracle, Bill. They need league average pitching. And Rasner provided it today.
    Like I said if they can manage to win 50% of the games started by Rasner, DeSalvo, and/or Igawa, they’ll be fine. Indeed, all they need is to be around a .600 club in six weeks and then they’ll have Clemens and Hughes. Me, I’m very comfortable with a playoff roatation of Wang, Moose, Pettite, and Clemens with Hughes as the injury backup.
    And as I’ve said three times now – I equate Abreu and Cano with Drew and Manny.
    And believe in DP, Lugo, Crips, and Varitek all you want. just becuase I think they’re utter scrubs – why do you care?

    jim - YF May 6, 2007, 3:08 pm
  • Wow, and just after I type it – Clemens is back baby!

    jim - YF May 6, 2007, 3:10 pm
  • Huh, my friend said they just announced it on the Jumbotron. Looks like it really is all about the money after all. What a douchebag.

    desturbd1 May 6, 2007, 3:12 pm
  • It’s about loyalty, Francis. The Sox weren’t loyal to him. The Yanks were.
    (And it was always going to be about the money – everything else was foreplay. But whatever the Yanks paid, you gotta believe the Sox would have paid the same).

    jim - YF May 6, 2007, 3:15 pm
  • d-1, clemens signs with sox = no douchebag?

    dc May 6, 2007, 3:15 pm
  • I was KIDDING. (Mostly)
    Disloyalty my ass. That was a different regime and there’s no fricken way the fans would have done anything but cheer his return. And no, I don’t believe the Sox would have paid the same. I really don’t.

    desturbd1 May 6, 2007, 3:17 pm
  • “…And no, I don’t believe the Sox would have paid the same. I really don’t….”
    uh, they probably don’t have any money left after emptying the vault for dm

    dc May 6, 2007, 3:20 pm
  • I’m sure it wouldn’t have bankrupted Boston to match whatever NY paid…(wanna start an over/under poll? I’ll go with a pro-rated $19MM) but this is about marginal utility. Is Roger Clemens’ performance definitely going to be $19MM (just guessing, I don’t feel like typing ‘whatever he’s getting paid’ over and over again) more productive then Boston’s fifth starter? No. Is he worth that much more then…uhh…the kids NY keeps having to trot out? Yes. It’s a good pickup.

    desturbd1 May 6, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • Francis –
    They’ve been putting on the hardcore foreplay even after spending all the cash this off-season. If Roger said he was going to the Sox they would have paid 15-20 mil.

    jim - YF May 6, 2007, 3:24 pm
  • The situation might be different if the Sox were 5.5 game down. A move this early is probably only in Yank’s interest.
    And can’t imagine Houston come up with anywhere around that much money..

    Lar May 6, 2007, 9:39 pm

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