Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bats Fall Flat, Yanks Lose To Tigers 6-2

I've said this many many times. I hate Michael Kay. Dude does not know when to keep his trap shut. I've blogged a few times in the past how he'll say things that always seem to jinx the Yankees. A-hole did it again tonight. Th Yanks were up 2-1 and Kay comments that Andy Pettitte lost his first start of the year at the Stadium and never in his career has he lost the first 2 starts of the year at the Stadium. Shortly thereafter Pettitte starts giving up longballs. Coincidence? I think not.

Andy started out great but his outing quickly turned south as the game wore on. I don't know if he's getting tired early or what, but his outing ended up a lot like his last start when he seemed to run out of gas midway though the game. I was really encouraged watching him early on. The Yankees need Andy to be that guy that consistently give them 6-7 innings. He's pretty good about that. He went 6 tonight which helped the bullpen a little bit after Hughes' short outing yesterday. Again, I don't think he pitched poorly, but it wasn't enough. Even had he held the Tigers to 3 runs it wouldn't have been enough with the offensive struggles. It's got to be tough to these guys to take the hill and know they have to keep the other team to 3 runs or less. the offense needs to kick it into gear.

The offense was again horrible tonight. The 1st inning was promising. It looked like they had a shot at chasing Bonderman early. They managed 2 runs on 3 hits in the first. That unfortunately would pretty much be it. The Yankees racked up a whopping 2 hits the rest of the way. Horrible. I have a feeling these struggles will continue with Jorge and A-Rod on the DL. You can't make up for that loss in production. The Yankees scored 968 runs last year and Jorge and Alex knocked in 25% of those runs. That's a lot to lose. But injuries are part of the game and right now the injury bug is going around.

The Yankees announced tonight that Phil Hughes was placed on the DL with an oblique strain. I'm not sure I buy that. I think the Yanks wanted to give him some time to work things out and this was the path they chose. It allows Phil time to "rehab" and work out the kinks. Injured or not, it's probably not a bad thing to give him 2 weeks off. He needs to get his act together. How come no one is talking about Dave Eiland when the subject of Hughes and Kennedy come up. Eiland was made the pitching coach largely because of the work he's done with these youngsters in the past. You'd think he'd be able to diagnose any issues and correct any problems. I'm surprised that Eiland along with Moose and Pettitte can't get through to these guys. They're killing them right now. Things need to change, and it looks like the team is getting the ball rolling with that.

When I was driving home from work I was listening to "The Show w/Kevin Kennedy and Rob Dibble" on XM. A severely disgruntled Yankees fan called up complaining about how bad Hughes is and how the Yankees should have dealt both he and Kennedy for Johan Santana. What a bozo. I understand the "win now" mentality but the Yankees decided to go with a period of adjustment this year. We knew this was coming. It was inevitable. Cashman has said many times that one of his objectives is to get the payroll in check. Trading 2 young-uns who are making bupkiss for the highest paid pitcher in the game isn't going to accomplish that. The Yankees put what they thought would be a winner on the field. Before the season started plenty of people out there thought it was a winner. I still do. Based on the scouting reports on Hughes and Kennedy and their performances last year I think they were wise to roll the dice with them. Right now it's not working out, and who knows maybe it never will, but the stuff is there and they're 21 and 23 respectively. They're not even near their prime. The problem is that they're not ready for the big leagues. I think the Yankees were wise to hold onto them because they will be the future of the starting rotation. What the Yankees should have done was picked up some insurance policies in the form of some proven veteran pitchers in case things didn't work out. Right now, their options to replace them are pretty weak. The ball would likely go to Kei Igawa or Darrell Rasner. Sorry, but I'd almost rather go with Phil and Ian.

The other thing that annoyed me on the call was Dibble and Kennedy referring to Chien-Ming Wang as not a "true number 1." Come on now. Kennedy's argument was that Wang only lives off his sinker and if it's not working, he gets hammered. Last time I checked Wang was mixing his pitches mroe and more and I think he has at least 4 quality pitches in his arsenal--sinker, splitter, 4 seam fastball, slider and maybe even a change? They ran down a list of who they felt werre real #1s and if memory serves it was Johan, Beckett, Peavy, Sabathia, and Brandon Webb to name a few. Now I don't know much about Brandon Webb but doesn't he primarily live of his sinker? Didn't he throw a 1-hitter a few years ago where 755 of the pitches he threw were sinkers? I thought I heard that somewhere. when Kennedy mentioned Beckett he talked about a 97 mph heater and a great curve. I think Wang's fastball is normally around 94 (I think). Not much of a difference to me. And why does a guy have to have a curveball to be a #1? Wang's sinker is just as effective. It's not all about power and strikeouts. Wang is a true #1, plain and simple. If he pitched well last October, we wouldn't have this discussion. Give the guy some credit.

Thank God this game ended rather early. I did 17 miles today on the treadmill. I'm beat and I needs me some sleep. April is finally over and I really hope May is more kind to the Yankees.



raven said...

I hate to say this but I kind of think that some people underestimate Wang not because of his strikeout rate, but of the color of his skin.
I have met a lot of people who always sugar coat their prejudice with so-called "professional analyse".

Jason said...

Hi J. I've had some problems trying to leave comments here lately, so it hasn't been that I've not dropped by, but rather that I've been circled through signing in when I've already signed in. Hopefully, this post appears. Before addressing the Yanks, I'm proud of you for your weight loss. I too have dropped about 50 pounds and am under 200 for the first time since 1996 (a good omen, to me). Stick to what you've done and be proud of yourself.

The Yankees are just listless offensively, and have done such a poor job with runners in scoring position (.240), against lefties (.233), and with patience. Jeter, for example, has put the ball in play after one or two pitches in 47 out of 100 of his plate appearances. I love the guy, but that's a bad approach, and so often at the worst times. Cano and Giambi should really sit but, with the injuries to A-Rod and Posada, I'm sure Girardi wants to take his chances that playing them will let them work out of it and contribute--someday. Cano has really chased a ton of bad, and low, pitches. I feel for the kids on the mound, but they're taxing a fairly good bullpen. I'm glad Rasner is getting a shot.

Give Cooper a big hug from The Heartland.