Friday, April 11, 2008

Guest Post: What a Wang-er!

Hi, my name is Brent Nycz and I write for MVN: The Bronx Block. While Becca is basking in the glow of Fenway Park (and hopefully, pissing off Red Sox fans in the process), I will take over her post-game duties for the night.

Speaking of tonight, what an incredible game pitched by Chien-Ming Wang in the 4-1 win. I had the chance to watch the Rangers/Devils game (Woo, Rangers!) while keeping track of the Yankees/Red Sox game. I have to say, I am throughly impressed.

Think about this: Wang used 93 pitches to shut down one of the top 5 best offenses in the game, only giving up 2 hits and one run (a 5th inning JD Drew shot in right field that, arguably, Bobby Abreu could have gotten to). That's all.

Let's break that down some more: David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez came into the game batting over .500 against Wang career-wise. What did Ortiz and Ramirez do today? 0-6 with 3 strikeouts (2 by Manny) and a double play (Ortiz). Wang was the definition of "dealing" tonight.

On the offensive side of the game, the Yankees scored 4 runs. Clay Buchholz held the Yankees in check for 6 innings, though the Yankees had a chance to blow the game wide open in the 6th. With Hideki Matsui and Alex Rodriguez on 2nd and 3rd (respectively) after a Matsui double and two outs, Jorge Posada had that chance to put the Yankees up 3-0. Instead, Posada grounded to Dustin Pedroia for the third out.

However, Mike Timlin helped the Yankees' cause in the top of the 7th. Jason Giambi upped his average to .095 by taking Timlin deep on the 6th pitch he saw. A The-Best-Back-up-Catcher-In-Years double, The (Former) Attorney General sacrifice bunt, and a Melky Cabrera sacrifice fly later, the Yankees went up 3-1. Hideki Okajima came in after the sacrifice bunt.

Bobby Abreu hit a RBI single to make up for his mistake in the top of the 9th to score Alberto Gonzalez (who lead off with a double) to make the score 4-1.

With Mussina and Hughes pitching against Beckett and Dice-K in the next two games (respectively), the Yankees were looking to get the first win out of the way. Though many expect the Yankees to get bombed tomorrow with Mussina against last year's Cy-Young candidate, stranger things have happened.

OPTIMIST TAKE: How can someone not have an optimist take after this game? So much talk about Wang not being an ace, and what does he do? Go 3-0 in his first three games, sporting a 1.23 ERA after shutting down the World Series champions. Alberto Gonzalez went 1-2 with a double and helped the Yankees score their 3rd run. In fact, the only one who didn't post any positive offensive production was the struggling Robinson Cano, who went 0-for-5 with 2 strikeouts. Jose Molina has been great in his back-up role, no statistics needed to back that up.

Lastly, the Red Sox fans were chanting "Yankees Suck!" at Fenway. The only problem with that? They were doing it towards the end of the top of the 7th inning, when their team was down 3-1. How does that make any sense? In any case, I smiled and laughed when I heard it.

SCORES AND STUFFS (of interest):

Mets beat the Brewers, 4-2.

The Rays scored 8 runs in the 7th and 8th innings to win 10-5 over the Orioles. Order is somewhat restored for one night.

The Blue Jays are beating the Rangers 8-2 so far in the top of the 7th.

The Tigers? Up 3-2 to the White Sox so far going to the 7th inning.

Just one more thing is needed to be said... absolutely great game. Absolutely.


  1. Wang pitched a great game. I think he is definitely the ace of the staff. He may not be one that always gets strikeouts, but he wins.

    Mussina is starting today. Hope he can continue to keep the Boston bats silent.

  2. come back rebeccaaaaa

    hope the boston fans aren't treating u too badly

  3. Great guest post Brent. Yesterday was indeed a great day.

    Today on the otyher hand was tough, as Manny clearly should have been walked intentionally. I really don't understand that move by Girardi and it would concern me in a big spot.

    Hoping Rebecca had fun at the Fens.

  4. Josh - thank you!

    And to the rest, got a phone call from Becca a few hours ago. She had an absolutely great time at Friday's game. Nothing more I could remember though. :-\

  5. Nice guest post.

    Friday was a great game to watch in person.

    Josh - I think Joe absolutely made the right call in pitching to Manny percentage-wise. In order for an intentional walk to pay off with 2 outs and 2 on, the second batter has to be very inferior to the first. Youkilis is a good hitter and the differences between he and Ramirez weren't big enough to justify a walk. The differences become smaller when you look at their stats with RISP and vs. RHP. Last year Kevin actually hit better than Manny vs RHP. Kevin is also off to a better start this year. Statistically speaking pitching to Manny was the right call.

    I posted about it on my blog in more detail if you want to see some of the specific numbers.

    I think walking Manny is more appealing from an emotional perspective, but from an empirical one, you pitch to him.

    Again, nice guest post.