Game number two of the 2009 season was definitely not a memorable one for Chien-Ming Wang.
Not only did the Orioles serve Wang with his first loss as the title suggest above, but they spanked him pretty good to a tune of 9 hits and 7 earned runs in just 3.2 innings (yeah I went there with the Wang jokes, and if you are wondering just how immature I am I debated with myself for at least 5 minutes on whether or not to put a “the” after beat in the title). Simply put, Wang just didn't have it today. As Ken Singleton pointed out numerous times on the YES telecast, Wang was leaving his sinker up in the zone early and often. And while the Orioles may not be a popular pick to win the AL East thanks to their pitching staff, one thing for sure is that they can definitely hit.
After missing up in the zone for the majority of the night, things completely fell apart in the 4th when Wang lost the strike zone. The most likely reason for this is Wang was overthrowing, trying to get as much downward movement on his fastball as possible. Problem is, with sinker ball pitchers when they try to do too much and over throw their ball tends to flatten out, which makes it easier for players like Nick Markakis to crush a ball deep into the Baltimore night. I don't recall seeing a lot of sliders from Wang tonight, which is a pitch he usually goes to when his sinker isn't working. His change-up was quite effective however, but when you're not locating your fastball hitters learn to lay off the change low and away. In fact if it weren't for a few base running mistakes by Baltimore, Wang's night may have been over an inning earlier.
I'm not going to lie to you, after the Markakis home run I turned the game off and began mentally preparing for Lost. Yes I'm aware that's not what you want to hear from your Yankee correspondent, but come on that show has a freaking monster, made of black smoke!!! I did catch most of the game however, and it went pretty much as most Yankee fans would expect. They staged a late comeback against mediocre relief pitching, only to reveal in the end that it was one big ____tease (the missing word rhymes with block). But hey at least Jeter showed off some power. And if you followed this blog last year, you'll be happy to know my Jeter Power Meter has carried over to the 2009 season. So after two games Jeter's slugging percentage sits at an astounding .889! Okay it’s a small sample size (get used to that phrase) I know, but perhaps the hand was a bigger issue then we were aware of last season. Now if we can only teach him to go to his left…..
So the Yankees are now 0-2…I think I'll wet my pants. Seriously though it's not the start I wanted to see but it's only 2 games. Although I'm sure we'll see the media overreact tomorrow with headlines like “200 million dollar mess” & “Money poorly spent”. What's that you say….those were the headlines after Monday's game? Oops…..
I hate fans and members of the media who think baseball is like football, in that every game is life and death. These are the same people that cry after a spring training loss. Sometimes I wish I lived in Texas where it would be legal to shoot these people. Just remember the 1998 Yankees started the season 1-4, and then went on to win 114 regular season games and the World Series. I'm not saying this team will do the same thing, but I do know from watching hours upon hours of baseball in my lifetime that this team is very, very talented. So give it some time before you declare 2009 a lost cause.
- What happened to all the Oriole fans Wednesday Night? The Yankees may suck as they reminded us often on Monday, but at least their fans show up for games.
- A team will live and die by its starting pitching, and the Yankees are no exception to that rule. A good pitching staff can carry an average team into the playoffs; and a great pitching staff can carry a team with no offense at all to a World Series (see the 2005 Astros). I feel the Yankees pitching staff this year is the best they've had since 2003, which is why I'm not particularly worried about the 0-2 start. Having great starting pitching is also the reason I'll argue Joba should remain in the rotation until I'm blue in the face (get used to this too).
- Just my two cents, but Uehara is going to have a rough season in the AL East. He has decent movement on his fastball, and when he missed hits spots he missed down in the zone early. But his movement isn't that eye popping, nor is his velocity. And when he faces a good hitting club during the summer, he'll get hit hard if he doesn't located well. I like him as a back of the rotation starter, not a staff #2.
- The logo of the new stadium on the back of the Yankees hats looks stupid.
- I hope the Yankee fans are smart enough not to give Mark Teixeira the Tino Martinez treatment if he's still struggling by the time they come home on the 16th. Then again this is the same fan base that boo's a guy whose won 2 MVP awards in 5 years and single handedly carried the team to the playoffs in 2007.
- I'm really not going to comment on the Opening Day game since it was just a total abortion all around. At least I heard the barbeque at Oriole Park was good….
Okay that's it for now, afternoon game tomorrow which happens to be AJ Burnett's first start as a Yankee. I'm predicting a win, then again I also predicted that Ford's stock would rebound…boy was I wrong. Questions and comments can be sent to JosephGallo@sportstalkbuzz.com. Good Night!
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Written by Joseph Gallo