Showing posts with label milestone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label milestone. Show all posts

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.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bullpen Moves

TheYankees are in pretty good shape right now. They're only two games behind Boston for the division and three games ahead of the Angels, Toronto, and Tampa for the Wild Card. If not for their miserable record against the Red Sox, they'd be sitting on top of the AL East with a comfortable lead. However, they have some obvious flaws and we're at the point in the season were the sample sizes are starting to become large enough for some use.

Its pretty obvious that some players are just not getting the job done and their are other guys languishing away in the minor leagues, waiting for a shot. Jose Veras, Phil Coke (more on him later), and Brett Tomko have just been awful. Replacing them with a few guys that can actually pitch would go a long way towards solving our bullpen issues.

First of all, we have the obvious. Brian Bruney will make his return tomorrow and if he can pitch anything like he did last year and the start of this year, he will quickly find his way back to the eight inning role (although I could change my mind tomorrow on that). I have high hopes for Bruney and believe that he, not Melancon or Joba, will be the next Yankees closer. His fastball velocity has steadily been rising over the years and at 27, is in the prime of his career.

Next is Mark Melancon to most Yankees fans he is the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera. I was calling for his promotion last September and now I definitely think he's ready. He didn't really get much of a shot in his brief ML stint this year but I think with time he will establish himself as a reliable cog in that bullpen. Anthony Claggett and Edwar Ramirez would also be in line for this spot.

Finally, we need a guy that can go multiple innings to take Tomko's place. That guy, for me, is Sergio Mitre. He has two good starts under his belt now in AAA and about nine innings of A ball in which he posted an FIP of 2.45. In his last ML stint in Florida, since then he's been hurt, he posted a deceptively high, but still solid, ERA of 4.65. I say deceptively high because his FIP was two ticks under four.

I doubt Coke will go because his ERA is low and he has earned Girardi's trust but Tomko and Veras for Mitre and Bruney would be an excellent trade off. I really don't care how good Veras' stuff is, he doesn't get outs and that's the bottom line.

BTW, this is the 1,000th post on the Chuck Knoblog. Its come a long way since I first joined Charlie and Nate back in August of last year and even longer since Nate launched the latest and greatest unnecesary Yankees blog. Its been great and I hope we can keep going for another 1,000 posts.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Another Comeback Win

These Yankees have shown some pretty amazing resilience in this short season. They started out slow and got a lot of bad press early on. However, they've charged all the way to first place and could not have done it without some huge late inning, maybe even clutch, comebacks.

What was interesting about today was that nobody really stood out. Alfredo Aceves was the player of the game which can really sum things up. Joba had a good start but faltered towards the end, as young pitchers often do. Three runs in six innings is nothing to sneeze at. However, its not dominating like his last start. Nick Swisher hit a solo shot in the third and nearly made a very nice play in the field. Melky Cabrera's diving catch was also a big moment. However, this was really a team effort.

The big rally came in the bottom of the eighth but it lacked a big hero. With one out and nobody on Damon got things started with a single and Mark Texeira followed things with another hit. Thus setting the stage for Alex Rodriguez. In very un-A-Rod like fashion though he laid off some bad breaking balls and worked a walk. Robinson Cano showed some of his newfound plate disciplince and walked in a run. The next two runs were really a function of some good luck for the Yankees. On a possible DP ball, Akiniori Iwamura booted a ball and let everybody reach safely. This gave Hideki Matsui a shot against J.P. Howell to beat out a double play attempt that would have been an inning ending ground out other wise. That was the end of the scoring for the Yanks but one run was enough for Mariano today.

All this gave Joe Girardi his 200th win as a manager and with a Boston loss today they are now barely in sole possession of first place by a half of a game. The Yankees aren't blowing people away but they're still winning.