Showing posts with label Chien-Ming Wang. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chien-Ming Wang. Show all posts

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Trading Wang?

Yesterday Jon Heyman mentioned on Twitter that The Phillies and Rangers have some interest in Wang. Its definitely an intriguing idea. I'm torn on this. For now, I'd hang on to him. With another month or two of good performances he could recoup a lot of his old value. Their also has to be an eye focused on next year. If they trade Wang they need to make some tough decisions about whether or not to sign onto yet another big free agent contract or give the spot to Alfredo Aceves or Ian Kennedy. Both would be untrustworthy and if Aceves, they would lose one of their best bullpen arms.

If they offered up a nice package (which Texas can definitely do) I'd take a good hard look at it but my expectations for that are very low at the moment. Tomorrow is another big start for Wang (they're all big from here on out to be honest) and we may have a better idea of where we stand with Wang then.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wang Wins, Rivera Saves #500

Its a pattern we've become accustomed to since Wang first came up back in 2005. Wang for six or seven innings, piece together the middle innings, and Rivera to close it out. The combination has been used 24 times now, to great effect for the Yankees. However, before last night it had not happened since June 10, 2008. Wang seems to have figured things out now though. I'll have more on Wang later.

First the game though, the Yankees jumped ahead quickly for what felt like the first time in ages. Jeter dismissed worries about his health right away with a leadoff double. Nick Swisher followed with what should have been an easy ground ball out. However, Daniel Murphy tried and failed to get Jeter at third instead. This set up a big Mark Teixeira double that drove in both Swisher and Jeter. Right away this gave them a 2-0 lead and they would get one more run that inning. It looked like the Yankees were going to run away with this one if Wang could just turn a decent outing. That was all the runs they would get though until the eighth when a combination of an error and walks would lead to K-Rod walking in Mariano for his first career RBI.

The Yankees blew several opportunities with men on base and could have scored more but the pitching was good enough for them to get away with it. Chien-Ming Wang turned in his third straight solid start and was good enough to get a win. He gave up nothing to the Mets until the fourth when they tagged him for two runs and really could have finished the sixth if it had not been a one run game at that point. What's important is that he got twelve ground balls, compared to only three fly balls and no line drives. That's vintage Wang right there. He needs to get deeper into games but he seems to have cemented his position in the rotation again and is gaining back some lose trust. The Yankees then attempted to piece together the rest of the game. The two Phils (Coke and Hughes) finished the sixth for Wang, Hughes would also pitch a scoreless seventh. The eighth was the only time the game really seemed in reach for the Mets. Brian Bruney would get two outs, however, he would also walk two and be forced to give way to Mariano Rivera. Mariano, of course, got out of the jam and pitched an uneventful ninth for his 500th save.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I'm skipping the recap today. Noboy really wants to rehash that game. Instead I'm going to focus on Wang and Phil Hughes. Wang put together his second consecutive good outing and has probably earned himself a little bit of breathing room. Not that five innings, three runs is anything to get excited over. However, considering where he was a couple starts ago its a major step forward. He was at around 60 pitches when he came out and its conceivable that if they weren't playing in the National League, he would have gone seven or eight innings. Not that it would have mattered in the end with the Yankees floundering offense. If he gets crushed in his next start he might be forced out of the rotation but he seems like he's figured things out and might be back to pitching like the old Chien Ming Wang. Yet again, his next start is going to be a big one to see if he can follow up on his success.

Hughes also pitched extremely well again. I'm sure he's keeping Wang on a short leash. He's been just dominating and his numbers are all around very good. Its only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt and Hughes finds his spot in the rotation. I don't think Phil is ever going back to Scranton at this point. He's been the rare bright spot during the Yankees downward spiral.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, tonight during Joba's start we will be resurrecting the liveblog. I assume we'll start around game time, 7:00. Feel free to join us.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What to do with the pitching?

The entire Al East, including the Yankees, have the day off. This gives them a chance to rest and regroup after the worst stretch of games they've gone through since last August. It also gives us bloggers to gripe about the various problems we see them having. The biggest dissapointment this year has been the rotation.

First, lets look at some FIP's for the rotation.

Sabathia- 3.80

Sabathia has been the only reliable pitcher for the Yankees throughout the year. He would face no challenge to his spot but now he's hurt. We don't know how bad it is. He claims he will make his next start but Girardi isn't quite so sure. Obviously, we hope he can make the start against the Mets. I have no problem with C.C though.

Chamberlain- 4.52

Well, can you believe it? Joba's beent he Yankees second best pitcher. With the way I've heard people talking, I'd though he had suddenly turned into Sidney Ponson and his destroyed, hopeless career could only be salvaged coming out of the bullpen. No, Joba's just a young guy who's going to go through struggles before emerging into the ace he can become. For now though, he's still a solid pitcher who anybody would be happy with at the back-end of the rotation if everybody else was doing their job. You guys know my stance of Joba, if he started challenging guys more and shaking Posada off less, he could take a big step forward.

Pettitte- 4.61

Before his last start, Pettitte had a lot of people worried, including myself. We were hearing whispers about back problems and not seeing many results. However, his last start was about as dominant as Pettitte will be for what's left of his career. I expect Pettitte's numbers to get a bit bettter as the season goes on. I also think that Girardi and co. are going to try and keep him away from Yankee Stadium as much as possible. His numbers are vastly better on the road than at home and I think that would be a big help to him.

Burnett- 4.84

Burnett is not the guy I wanted in the offseason. He had never been the ace some people made him out to be and I still have big injury concerns about him. Watching Burnett nibble and give up runs is painful when Derrek Lowe, who's sinker ball style seems tailor made for Yankee Stadium, has an FIP of 3.42 for the Braves. Burnett's not going to be this bad though. His problem is his ridiculous walk totals. Like Joba, he's a flamethrower that needs to trust his stuff and through the ball in the strikezone. I assume that Eiland, Posada, or Girardi will notice this before long if they haven't already. I'm not positive but I think he's generally better in the second half anyway so I'm sure he'll be all right.

Wang- 6.14

At this point in the season, we have to start considering the possibility that Wang sucks. He's shown very little signs of being the pitcher he was before his injury and I think this next start is going to be his last for a long time unless he can put together a good outing. However, their are encouraging signs. He finally gave the Yankees a quality start last time out and I'm hoping he may have turned a corner. If they could get him going again it would be a huge boost to this team and could trigger a turnaround. Big start for Wang coming up.

So what can the Yankees really do? I guess Wang will get one more start and if he gets hit hard again he'll make way for Phil Hughes. What about the others though? Its tough to see them yanking Burnett from the rotation and anybody else wouldn't really make much sense. We'll jut have to hope that they can magically start pitching better.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yankees Lose

It doesn't seem like these Yankees ever really have normal games. Its always either a dramatic comeback win or as painful a loss as they can make it.

Wang pitched fine for once. He kept the Yankees in the game and I assume he will get another start (against the Braves?) but I already adressed Wang's performance. The bullpen also came through big. Phil Hughes continued to establish himself as a reliable bullpen arm with another two shutout innings. In the bullpen he can rely solely on his fastball and curveball rather than being forced to rely on his weaker pitches like his changeup and cutter.

So that's it for the pitching, the real problem was the incredible lack of offense. For the first eight innings nothing happened. Robinson Cano (who may be starting to heat up a bit) hit a solo homer for their only run but besides that they didn't give Yankees fans much to root for, A-Rod got some boos but that's not even notable anymore. Of course, as these Yankees always seem to do. They came alive in the 9th. Johnny Damon led off the inning with a home run to bring the score to 3-2. Thus waking up all of the sleeping Yankee fans at the stadium and nearly inciting a comeback win. Mark Teixeira hit a single with one out and Brett Gardner pinch ran for him. After two stolen bases Gardner ended up on third for Alex Rodriguez with only one out. Instead of getting teh walkoff home run everybody at the stadium was expecting though, he works a walk. Setting up a game ending double play from Robinson Cano.

Another ugly loss but at 1:00 today they have a chance to reverse that. Win today and everybody forgets about it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wang Survives

I know this game isn't over but I wanted to get a post out on Wang as soon as possible. I know the final line doesn't look that great but he pitched just well enough to earn himself one more start. Obviously, the line of three runs in five innings is decent enough to probably merit another start on its own. A K/BB of 4:2 is also solid, particularly for Wang. However, what stands out to me is that he was keeping the ball on the ground again. He got twelve of the batters he faced to hit grounders and only two managed to get the ball in the air. That's much closer to vintage Wang than the 39:23 ratio he has on the season.

Not a really great start but it marks a huge improvement for Wang and if he can turn things around, this start is going to be remembered as the first step in the right direction. He was a borderline ace a year ago and its tough to give up on him.

Now hopefully the Yanks have another late innings come back in them tonight.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sergio Mitre's Return

One of the quiet signings that Cashman and co. made last winter was Sergio Mitre. Back when they first signed him I made a post saying he had some potential to be a solid fill in for them. Well, now with Pettitte and Wang both struggling and Ian Kennedy hurt their may be a need for him. He was suspended for violating the PED policy for the first chunk of the year but now he's pitching for Scranton. His first start was excellent and if the rotation continues to have problems, look for him to get a call-up.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Will We Ever Beat the Red Sox Again?

Coming into this series the Yankees were riding pretty high. They seemed like a new team. After another sweep at the hands of the Red Sox the Yankees are suddenly stripped of any sort of identity. They have somehow managed to lose eight straight (nine?) to their biggest rival and yet remain only one game behind them. They are a confusing team to say the least. They trotted out what some called the best 1-2-3 punch in baseball before the season for this series and still got crushed. Burnett, who was brought in to kill the Red Sox, has done nothing all year and hardly reversed that trend. The only reason people aren't calling for his head is that he's been overshadowed by Wang, who's been covered extensively. Then C.C. Sabathia finally turned in a good performance but was victimized by a thin bullpen and nonexistent offense against Brad Penny.

They have until August before they play Boston again. By that time this team is going to look a lot different. They need to figure things out by then. I really hate to find myself agreeing with Steve Lombardi, but these Yankees don't look like they can handle the AL's top teams. I mean, David Ortiz is getting hits against us. Hopefully, they can just go out and get a win tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is Wang Finished?

The question that's been on everybody's mind since the start of the season. He's been awful by any sense of the word. He's shown absolutely no signs this year of being the front line guy he has been for the Yankees. Without factoring in tonight's start his numbers are godawful. His ERA is sky high over 14 and his FIP is at 6.00. Everything that can be wrong with a pitcher is wrong with Wang right now. he's giving up home runs, failing to strike guys out, giving up hits, and can't even induce the amount of GB's he has in the past.

Its really inexplicable for me. We know why they're getting hits/runs off of him. The Pitch F/X data clearly shows his sinker isn't sinking and that his control is off. Why though? How does somebody who was so good just a year ago come to this, at age 29? This is a major concern for the Yankees going forward. I really don't think he's done. I have to imagine that he's hurt or something because a guy like that just doesn't forget how to pitch. However, he's given us plenty of a reason to worry. Not to be overly dramatic, but Wang's next start is huge for him. If he fails again, expect another DL trip for him.

Wang coming up with Cano in 2005 was a big part of forcing the Yankees move to rebuilding their farm system. I've always loved watching him pitch and have defended him as much as I possibly could in past years to doubters. The Yankees have to be close to pushing the panic button on him though.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Pitching Surplus

Here's my crazy idea for the day. I've been tossing this idea around in my head for a while but the time has never been right for it. The Yankees right now have a very brief but valuable starting pitching surplus. Burnett, Sabathia, and Pettitte of course have spots set in the rotation, leaving three guys for one hole. The Yankees are going to have to figure out what to do with Wang, Joba, and Hughes. First of all, lets rule out Joba to the bullpen. Of the three he's pitched best in the rotation and he was a bonafide number one starter last year. So, this leaves Hughes and Wang battling for one spot. We can leave Wang in the bullpen and keep Hughes in the rotation, send Hughes to AAA and move Wang to the bullpen, or put Hughes in the bullpen and move Wang to the rotation. Right now, I think that's the best move for the Yankees.

Hopefully, this would not be a permanent move for Phil but it makes sense in the short term for a few reasons which I'll adress in quick and easy bulleted form.
  • He clearly has nothing left to prove in AAA. Minor leaguers are helpless against him and their's nothing left to learn from that level. This way he can build up his innings totals and still get valuable ML experience.
  • Wang had been one of the best pitchers in baseball for three years straight before getting hurt last year. Since he's come back he seems to have found himself again and does not belong wasting away in the bullpen.
  • Hughes has been mediocore thus far in the rotation. He has shown flashes of greatness but, like most 23 year olds, has been inconsistent. Their is no reason to believe he is any better than any of the Yankees' other five starters right now.
  • The bullpen needs some help from somewhere. Having another guy, in addition to Aceves, that can go multiple innings in a big spot would be huge. Hughes has been mediocore in the rotation but mediocore starters often dominate in the bullpen.

Keep in mind, this would be a very temporary solution. Somebody will get hurt eventually and Hughes can then switch back into the rotation. Even if nobody gets hurt, this would be a one year solution until a spot opens up next year. Its worth a shot and I think it would solve a lot of the Yankees' problems. Thoughts?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cash Rules

Wang: “Performance-wise he was terrific. This was a much better hitting club. Columbus is a much better offensive club than the team he was facing last time, but his stuff was better last time to be honest. Although he performed great in both outings, he didn’t have the slider that he had last time. His changeup was better today than last time. His fastball velocity was a little bit lower this time than it was last time.
“At the same time, he handled the lineup and got a lot of groundballs. Facing guys like (Travis) Hafner kind of tells you a little something you want to know. I know Hafner is on a rehab assignment and he’s a guy who can really do some damage if you’re making mistakes, not making some pitches, and he made his pitches. That tells you a lot.
“What you’d love to see are all pitches working at optimal levels, but that’s not always realistic. Obviously the most important thing is performance and he has performed in his two starts here, there’s no doubt about that.”
“Ultimately, with him, as long as he’s getting sink, he can pitch and be successful, there’s no doubt about that. And he feels good about himself. I had a chance to talk to him in the trainer’s room, so these are two trips well worthwhile for me. Our team is winning in New York and we are getting closer to being healthy and adding guys like a Bruney and a Wang and that’s a great thing for us.”

Bruney: “He looked healthy, which is the biggest thing for him. Unlike Wang, he’s coming off of an elbow injury, so you want to see health, and I saw health.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wang Pitches Well in Scranton

Today was Chien-Ming Wang's first real start after spending time in extended spring training working on his mechanics and building arm strength. Pitching for the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, and he had a very good start. His final line: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 7-4 GO/AO, 82 pitches, 49 strikes. Love the strikeouts and groundballs, a few too many walks, but he apparently had pretty good control of all his pitches. Now the question is where Wang will make his next start. Personally, I would give him one more in Scranton and Hughes one more in the majors, then switch if Wang pitches well again.

Update, 10:48 PM: Question answered: Wang will pitch one more time in AAA.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Wang Question

We all know that Chien-Ming Wang has been awful this season, to say the least. He threw 91 pitches in extended spring training today, 70 for strikes. He allowed nine hits and four earned runs, but as Pete Abraham noted, the infields in extended spring are not in very good condition and are played by 18 and 19 year olds. What is more important is that Wang threw a lot of strikes today, and got eleven strikeouts. However, the 18 year old caveat still applies here, so even that does not tell us much. The only thing of substance we can draw from this appearence is this quote (from the article linked above):
He doesn’t have the arm strength he had last year,” Contreras said. “But he hasn’t pitched in eight months prior to this spring training. What I saw today, he had the best slider I’ve seen since I’ve known Chien-Ming. The slider has improved and the changeup is very good. His offspeed pitches are coming in really well.
This tells me that Wang is making progress but is still not where he needs to be. He obviously is not fully recovered from that eight month layoff, and he needs to build up arm strength. The best solution here is a DL stint. Since it would be retroactive to last saturday, he would only miss two starts if he was ready by then, but he would probably need a bit more time. The obvious candidate to replace him is Phil Hughes. Though he struggled early last season, he is fully healthy now and seems to have rediscovered the stuff that made him one of baseball's top pitching prospects. He currently has a 1.86 ERA in Scranton, and is lined up to take Wang's place in the rotation. From Chad Jennings' Blog:
Phil Hughes (right) struck out seven batters tonight: Two on fastballs, one on a cutter and four on a curveball that was much improved from his previous two outings. Hughes said he's been focused on the curveball during his side sessions, and felt like he got the feel for it heading into this start. It was sharp, and he was willing to throw it in just about any count, including three-ball counts when he needed to drop it for a strike.

“His curveball was outstanding," pitching coach Scott Aldred said. "Command of it was good. Break was good. He used it in good situations. To me he just pitched a much better game. He didn’t just go after guys with his fastball, then use his secondary. He mixed it up real good. No patterns. That was probably the best that I’ve seen him this year.”

If Hughes' curveball is truly back to where it was in this game, I think he will contribute immediately.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Comic: Mid-Series Update

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wang: Missing Next Start

From RAB:
The Yankees have announced the rotation for the next four games, and Chien-Ming Wang is not in it. Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia will close out the Oakland series, and then A.J. Burnett, Joba and Pettitte will take on the Red Sox in Boston. The team has yet to announce what they plan on doing with Wang for the next week or so. I’m guessing he’ll work on the side and probably toss some live BP. The Yanks really need to work out his mechanical issues.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wang's Troubles

Wang's first two starts have been downright awful. Its very out of character for Wang to be this bad. Its not like he was just unlucky either. A K/BB of .17 is pretty unrealistic at the moment and a 30% GB% is unusual for him. For now, it seems like just a rough start but he needs to get better if the Yankees are to make the playoffs.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Odds and Ends

  • A-Rod met with the MLB on monday; they described A-Rod as "co-operative".
  • The Yankees tied today 5-5. The Greek wonder, George Kontos gave up 3 runs.
  • Wang pitched today for two innings; Molina described his sinker as: "Just like last year before he got hurt”.
  • Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    2nd Starter

    I went with Wang in this spot because he has seniority over Burnett with regards to his time with the Yankees. They could really go either way on this one. Burnett probably makes more sense I guess.

    Yankees- Chien-Ming Wang- Wang had a very dissapointing 2008. It wasn't just his injury either that bothers me. His RCA was a very high 5.02 in his 86 innings. This is out of line with what he did the year before (4.38 in 184 innings) and the year before that (4.32 in 200 innings) where he established himself as a good pitcher who had no business pretending to be an ace. An interesting note about Wang is his consistenly low HR/FB%. This is generally attributed to luck but some pitchers do have a talent for it. Usually GB pitchers or soft tossing control guys. If Wang is one of these rare guys then RCA would underrate him. Hopefully, 20008 was just an outlier in a small sample size and he`ll go back to being the solid innings eater he always has been. If Wang could just work on his sider and start striking guys out though.....

    Red Sox- Jon Lester- A year ago I laughed when my cousin compared him to Phil Hughes. I regret that. 2008 was essentially his first full year so that's all I`m going to go on. It was very good to. Not quite what his ERA would indicate but a 4.39 RCA in 199 innings is pretty damn good for a 24 year old who already has had to deal with cancer. He`s going to fall off a lot from his 2008 but anybody would still love to have him on their team. I also think their's a good chance he`s going to get hurt. He took a pretty huge jump in innings pitched from 2007 to 2008. He`s going to start hitting his peak years in the next year or two and then we really have to start worrying. If he could strike out a few more guys he`d be scary.

    Rays- Scott Kazmir- Last year the former Met basically gave up on his slider in exchange for a more straightforward fastball/changeup combo. This isn't a sudden change either. Over the past three years he went from throwing his slider about 29 percent of the time in 2006 to about 10 percent last year. Why? I have absolutely no idea. Its not working. He had a 4.05 RCA in 151 innings last year. That's really good but not even close to 2007 (3.23 in 212 innings) or 2006 (3.39 in 146 innings). Before 2008 Kazmir was better than anybody in the division not named Sabathia. If he could get his injuries under control that would also help him a ton. My guess is that he`s going to stick with the fastball/changeup since his ERA was as good as ever last year. However, he`s not going to be the pitcher he should be.

    Conclusion- Rays- Red Sox- Yankees- Even a diminished Kazmir is still well above Wang or Lester. Wang and Lester are almost to close to call though. I went with Lester in the end because he`s younger wtih a better chance of improvement. 2008 also has to be somewhat concerning for Yankees fans. Plus, Wang has a bit of an injury history. It could break either way here. If Kazmir can regain his form of a year or two ago then Shields-Kazmir could be a really scary 1-2 punch. Like Sabathia-Sheets was last year.

    Monday, December 22, 2008

    Yankees Sign CMW to 1 Year Deal

    Here is the word off the press release:
    The New York Yankees announced today that they have signed right-handed pitcher Chien-Ming Wang to a one-year contract for $5 million, avoiding arbitration.
    Wang, 28, was 8-2 with a 4.07 ERA in 15 starts for the Yankees in 2008 before being placed on the disabled list on June 17 for the remainder of the season with a mid-foot sprain of the Lisfranc ligament and a partial tear of the peroneal longus tendon in his right foot. He began the season 6-0, including a 5-0 mark in April, and was the Yankees' Opening Day starter in the final season opener at Yankee Stadium on April 1, defeating Toronto, 3-2.
    Despite missing most of the 2008 season, Wang's 46 wins since 2006 are tied for the third-most in the American League and eighth-most in the Majors. His .754 combined winning percentage over the last three seasons (2006-08) is the second-highest in the Majors behind Boston's Jon Lester (.771, 27-8). He recorded back-to-back seasons with 19 wins in 2006 and 2007, becoming the first Yankee to win as many games in each of two consecutive seasons since Tommy John in 1979-80.
    On April 22, 2008, in his 85th career start, Wang became the third-fastest Major League pitcher in the last 50 years to reach 50 career wins behind Dwight Gooden (82nd start) and the Yankees' Ron Guidry (82nd start), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
    Signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent on May 5, 2000, Wang has won more games than any Taiwanese-born pitcher and ranks third all-time in wins by Asian-born pitchers behind Japan's Hideo Nomo (123) and South Korea's Chan Ho Park (117).
    Now we can rock out with out Wang out through the 2011 season.

    Tuesday, July 29, 2008


    While we all try to forget about the game tonight, here is some rehab news courtesy of River Ave. Blues:
    • Phil Hughes threw 28 pitches in three innings for Low-A Charleston. He allowed two hits, walked a batter and threw 20 of his pitches for strikes. Five of his outs were groundball outs.
    • Carl Pavano started the game for Charleston and threw two innings, striking out four and allowing two baserunners.
    • Chien-Ming Wang got his cast taken off today
    • Andrew Brackman will throw off a mound on thursday
    • Eric Milton threw 35 pitches in a simulated game