Sunday, June 1, 2008

Yanks Win In Extras To Get Above .500 But Quickly Drop Back To Even With 5-1 Loss

I apologize for not blogging about last night's game earlier. I was going to do it last night but it went to extra innings and I didn't feel like it after it ended. I had the full intention of doing it this morning. I rolled out of bed at 1130am and the missus advised she had to run out and I was in charge of the little man. She got back around 130 which is the same time that Cooper's same-aged cousin Vaughn came over for a play-date and I couldn't ignore the fam. So here I am, trying to catch up with a two-fer. I apologize for what I'm assuming will be a long one. I'll probably lump the games into 2 when I talk about the offense.

It was nice to finally see this team get over the hump. The feeling I had about the Yanks winning that game turned out to be right, though not for the reasons I thought. Chien-Ming Wang didn't have his ace or #1 stuff. The Wanger has been struggling as of late. He's winless in his last 5 decisions, posting an ERA over that span of about 5.67. He's pitched well enough to win a few of those games and last night's game was no exception. Typically the offense does him in but this time it was the bullpen. I'm not sure what's going on with Wang. I read on Pete Abraham's blog that he's fine physically, but feels the problems are caused by inconsistency with his arm slot. I'd like to think that's an easy problem to fix but I have no idea. If there's one thing I know, Wang will figure it out and be throwing like we know he can real soon. I don't see Chien-Ming struggling long term.

Edwar Ramirez's magical run of not allowing an earned run came to an end last night when Michael Cuddyer hit a game-tying HR off him in the 7th. The HR blew the win for Wang but what can you do? Nobody can be perfect all of the time. I still like Edwar for the setup role over Kyle Farnsworth, who I'll admit, looked alright last night. But he's looked alright before,a nd at the drop of a dime, blows chunks.

I was surprised that Ross Ohlendorf pitched as well as he did. He came up big a few times in his 2 innings. I thought the Yanks were done for in the 11th. 2 on no out and Morneau and Cuddyer coming up. Getting through that had to be a huge confidence boost for Ross. Build on that Ross. I've got faith in his ability to get the job done. I just think he's a year or two away from putting it all together.

And then there's Mariano. Again perfect. He has been absolutely lights out. 15 for 15 in save chances. 1 earned run in 25 innings. Man what a difference a year makes. Shame on you baseball fans out there that thought he was done. Resigning him to all the cheddar was definitely worth it.

I read a lot of comments out in the blogosphere likening Darrell Rasner to Aaron Small. Small if you remember was a minor league call-up who went a perfect 10-0 for the Yankees a few years back. After Rasner was 3-0 I read a lot of things comparing the 2. And now that he's lost 2 straight, I guess that turned out to be a little premature now wouldn't you say? Don't get me wrong, I really like D-Raz. He pitched a great game when he got tagged with a loss against Baltimore. He wasn't as sharp today as he's been in his last few outings but still pitched alright. I don't expect perfection from the starters. I expect them to keep the team in the game and give the offense the opportunity to do its thing. Rasner has done that every time. He may have lost 2 straight, but he's A-OK in my book.

I wasn't overly impressed with Scott Patterson. But he's not any worse than anything else I've seen this year. First game jitters maybe. I'll reserve judgement until he gets another outing or two under his belt. And I'm not sure why they don't use Chris Britton more. He seems to be the preferred guy they call up, but he seldom pitches. I've liked what I've seen from CB over the last several years. I wish they'd use him more often. Definitely in place of Luis Vizcaino, err I mean Latroy Hakwins. Guy is garbage.

As for the offense.....

I think it's safe to say that the offense has turned a corner. They've been swinging the bats real well lately and I expect it to continue. The hits are coming more regularly. The runs scored are starting to pile up. Going back to the win against Baltimore on 5/21, they've scored 5 or more runs 7 times, a span of 11 games. They had only done that 12 times in their first 45 games. Definite improvement. The only ones I'm worried about right now are Robbie Cano and Derek Jeter. Cano has been cold most of the year and Jeter is in a nasty slump. He had a decent game today but 1 game convince me the slump is over. Both Jeter and Cano are good with the stick so I'm sure they'll break out of it. Abreu has put together a nice string of games. Damon has also. They may have only scored 1 run today on the Jeter homer but they all hit the ball except for Matsui and Betemit. Matsui has arguable been the league's best hitter to date. He'll be fine. Betemit on the other hand. Why is he on the roster? We can't find anyone better? The Yankees have a very weak bench right now. Ensberg was just sent packing. Good. Shelley Duncan. Don't get me started. And Betemit? Terrible. Wilson hasn't hit since he was traded from the Braves to the Dodgers. He hit .241 with the Dodgers in '06. .231 with them in '07 before he was traded to the Yankees for Scott Proctor. He hit .226 for us last year and with today;s o-fer he's hitting .237. His combined average now with LA and NYY, in 452 at bats, is .235. I thought he had some power too. As a Yankee, he's gone deep 5 times in 122 at bats. I was expecting more. He needs to perform or they need to find someone that can. The bench is cutting it.

And all of that rolls up into a 2 game split and an overall record of 28-28. .500. Ugh. I'm getting so sick of that percentage. To quote the legendary George Clinton from the song Bop Gun (Endangered Species): We got to get over the hump. Andy Pettitte looks to do that tomorrow int eh final game of this 4 game wrap around series with the look-alikes. The Twins are sending out Livan Hernandez. The Yankees have owned Livan throughout his career. I'd like to say that gives me confidence but the Yankees don't often do what they're supposed to. I feel good about things, but we'll see. Don't want to jinx it like I almost did to the Wanger.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,