Strike First Strike Hard No Mercy

After tonight, when New York loses to Toronto in a whole new despicable way (I’m imagining a 14 to 13, walk-off salami by Lind off Bruney in the bottom of the ninth after the Yanks were leading by 12 heading into the inning and burn through 4 pitchers to lose), the Yanks will be so far behind Boston that even the Red Sox may feel sorry (hah..not) for the Yanks when they go to deliver the killing blow this weekend at Fenway.  I know, I know; "there’s plenty of fight left in this team", "we need to keep playing hard and scratch out some wins", blah, blah.  I’m always fond to remember that baseball games are still played one at a time, and each game has its own strategies and wrinkles.  While the Yanks think of new ways stand on their own neck with their own foot, there are still schemes playing out worth tracking.  Pete Abraham reported last night that the Yankees will keep their rotation intact heading into Boston this weekend, meaning that the seasonally-tested arms of Mussina, Wang, and Pettitte are the projected starters, and the seasonally-testy Fists of Clemens will be unleashed upon the White Sox.  Boston, however, is choosing to skip Julian Tavarez’ turn in the wheel and will throw Wakefield, Schilling and Beckett.

So it’s the fighting style of Master Mussina of Stanford-Tzu vs. the Butterfly-Flaps-Its-Wings Wakefield Philosophy …  the ground-style fighting of Wang-Fu vs. Curt-Ra-Te (empty hand, open mouth)… Pettitte’s Judo-Flip-Onto-The-Grenade-For-The-Team vs. Beckett’s Quivering Avulsion of Death, blister-style.  In the mean time,  Julian Tavarez of Screaming Leather-Faced Tiger Dojo is left on the outs.  Of course he’s always available if someone gets in a jam.  And of course, with Wake starting the first game of the set, he also can be called upon later.  Heck, he could be called upon to pitch both games of a day-night double-header I suppose.  Let’s look at how the pitchers in question have fared so far in their cage matches.

Yanks vs Sox
Chien-Ming Wang 2 2 1 1 12.1 4.38 13 6 6 2 6 6 .277
Mike Mussina 1 1 0 1 6.2 9.45 10 7 7 2 1 2 .357
Andy Pettitte 4 3 1 1 19 3.79 23 8 8 2 9 10 .315
Sox vs Yanks
Julian Tavarez 2 2 2 0 10.2 4.22 6 5 5 1 6 4 .162
Tim Wakefield 2 2 1 1 10.1 7.84 14 9 9 3 11 5 .326
Curt Schilling 2 2 0 1 13 6.92 20 11 10 4 1 8 .357
Josh Beckett 1 1 1 0 6.2 5.40 9 5 4 0 2 7 .310

Stats and links courtesy of has held Yankee hitters to a measly .549 OPS, whereas Wake’s 1.091 OPS has transformed the Bronx Bummers back into the Bombers.  So, good move or no?  I say, "sweep the leg, Julian."  I wonder if Wanger knows that Crane technique.

12 comments… add one
  • After the way Tavarez pitched at the game I attended last week (he pitched so well to pay me back for my “Hooligan” chants during BP, I’m sure)I kind of feel relieved – that’ll probably last until Wakefield is in the 7th inning of a 2 hit shutout, though…

    Andrews May 30, 2007, 4:38 pm
  • Somebody’s been watching too many UFC/Pride mixed martial arts fights.
    Though I gotta admit Quinton “Rampage” Jackson did put a beatdown on Chuck “the Iceman” Liddell the other night.
    Maybe the Yankees need to sign somebody like Wanderlei Silva or Mirko “Cro-Cop.”

    SoxFan May 30, 2007, 4:53 pm
  • i’ll be there friday night. i’m hoping you’re wrong about wakefield, but couldn’t pretend to be surprised if that did happen.
    is it really going to be mussina/wakefield instead of wang?
    i always get the moose game…
    i’d rather see wang.
    (typing that actually made me giggle. i am a child.)

    Yankee Fan In Boston May 30, 2007, 4:54 pm
  • I don’t think “beatdown” is the appropriate word for the Rampage-Iceman fight. I think Liddell made a mistake and got caught by Jackson with a lucky punch…after Liddell fell, it was easy for Quentin. I will say that Rampage has a very vacant look in his eyes before he fights. It’s almost scary.

    jp-sf May 30, 2007, 4:56 pm
  • clemens is on the michael kay show right now.

    sf rod May 30, 2007, 5:05 pm
  • Once Rampage tagged Liddell with that “lucky” punch, he was beating on him like a drum. He basically knocked Liddell out with the first punch and then woke him up when his ground and pound blows.
    I’d call that a beatdown.

    SoxFan May 30, 2007, 5:10 pm
  • If you watch the replays, Jackson threw that punch blind. It did connect, but it was lucky. Don’t get me wrong, Liddell was out when he went down…but it wasn’t like Rampage beat the crap out of him or something.

    jp-sf May 30, 2007, 5:20 pm
  • during the clemens interview, kay asked what effect he would have on the clubhouse. roger said he’s met with alot of the young yankee players, and then referenced the effect he had on houstons younger players. he tried to think of some of the younger astros he spent time with and drew a blank on their names. it was pretty classic.

    sf rod May 30, 2007, 5:26 pm
  • That’s what you get with a hired gun or a mercenary…

    jp-sf May 30, 2007, 5:30 pm
  • JP: I’ve seen the replays. Rampage covers up from a Liddell left to the body, then a beat later counters with a right, when he sees an opening. Are you a Liddell fan? You gotta give Rampage his props. This is the second time he beat the Iceman. The first in 2003, it took him two rounds. Now it takes him less than one.

    SoxFan May 30, 2007, 5:47 pm
  • I’m a UFC fan. Liddell got beat…I just don’t think it was anything more than a lucky punch that was the beginning of the end. I’m not saying that Rampage still wouldn’t have beat him. That dude is tough.

    jp-sf May 30, 2007, 5:58 pm
  • I’ve watched a little UFC and don’t personally care for it (despite the cage-match tailing line), but I know it’s the hot stuff. I was a pretty big follower of boxing quite awhile ago (I don’t remember when it started sucking), but the theme of this post was more to reflect my 80’s teenage roots of Karate Kid combined with the recent ballyhooed fist-banging of Clemens, and see what everyone thought about skipping Tavarez. But hey, whatever jingles your jangles.

    attackgerbil May 30, 2007, 9:43 pm

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