Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Re-examining Wang, Part VII

It's been a while since I took a game-specific look at Chien-Ming Wang's performance, but after posting Jason Grey's analysis yesterday, it was as good a time as any to reprise this thread.

Here's where it starts: Wang's first inning scared me. Hit the first batter with the first pitch. The next three batters had well-hit fly balls to the OF. The kind of shots that lead you take a deep {gulp} and wonder how bad a night it's going to be.

Except that's not what happened.

Wang came out in the 2nd and was coolly efficient there on out, throwing just 83 pitches in 7-1/3 innings. I didn't make it that far, but I have no idea why Girardi felt Wang should come out of the game with so few pitches thrown. The bullpen has been taxed lately (Joba stretching out, Pettitte's lousy effort last time out, Farnsworth hurting and generally maddening, etc.) so why go to the whip when the horse seemingly was cruising along?

So after allowing three fly ball outs in the first, Wang reverted back to his "old" self, going 15-2 in GB:FB. Finishing the game with a nifty 3:1 GB:FB ratio is hopefully a nice harbinger of things to come.

The strikeouts were again down at just two, with two walks. He needs to have a better ratio than just 1:1 for K:BB. Wang's historically around 1.5 (up to 1.76 last year) so even if he's not back up to the K/9IP of 6+ like he was earlier, he does need to boost the K's a bit. But, after the last month of very uneven (being kind here) performance, this is just nitpicking and I know that.

Wang's current "indicator" stats stand at:
K/9 IP: 5.10
K:BB: 1.46
#PC/9 IP: 14.9 (more than the 14.2 in 2007)
BAA: .246 (career low, by a lot)
GB:FB: 2.23 (career avg: 2.79, including this year's average)

UPDATE: The smart brothers manning the "Pride of the Yankees" blog over at had this to say about Girardi's (ahem) pulling of Wang {it's impossible to avoid the double entrendes sometimes!}:

In general, we try not to question the manager too much. It's never really worth it, it doesn't accomplish anything, and it just looks like you're trying to be negative. But last night, Chien-Ming Wang was, as we said, efficient and on the mark; he had thrown 83 pitches over 7.1 innings. To us, that's complete game territory. But instead, Joe Girardi risked the game by bringing in Jose Veras to finish off the eighth inning -- he promptly allowed two baserunners while it was still a 2-1 game, and the game almost went spinning out of control. (Just imagine what damage Kyle Farnsworth would have done, had he been available. On second thought: don't imagine that.)

Unless Wang told Joe G. that he was tired -- which is entirely plausible -- there was really no reason to pull Wang. It wasn't overly hot in Oakland (it was 67 degrees, unlike here in NYC where it was 100), and Wang registered the first out of the eighth inning quickly.

Anyway, like we said, there's no use being overly bitter, because the Yanks came away with a win last night. But that move just didn't make much sense.

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