Tonight’s good news, even more so than the win, at least for me, is that Sheffield has said he will change position to accomodate Abreu. I was worried about that becoming a serious team chemistry problem, but now that the Master Sheff doesn’t mind playing third base, first base, left field, center field or DH, we’ll rest assured that once he’s off the DL that big bat of his will be in the lineup. I love the acquisition of Abreu, but Bobby doesn’t compare to the intimidation factor of Sheffield. We really need both of them.
Wright was as usual. Too many pitches (103) crammed into 5 innings, 5 hits and 1 run. But as long as he’s allowing 1, 2 or 3 runs, the Yanks have a chance to win and you can’t complain. Luckily Villone, Proctor and Farnsworth have been untouchable. But pretty soon, when the innings begin to stack up, I don’t know if we can expect the bullpen to pitch 4 innings every time Wright starts. Right now we’re getting by, but it might not be so easy in two months.
Wright’s pivotal moment was in the fourth inning when, with 2 outs and runners at the corners and a full count on McDonald, he induced a ground out. That kept Toronto’s lead at one run and set up the Yankees’ big inning. If McDonald reached base, I bet Torre would’ve called to the bullpen because Wright’s pitch count was in the high 80s to low 90s.
Our 4 runs in the bottom half were created by A-Rod, Abreu and Bernie. With Jeter and Giambi already on base, A-Rod doubled in the tieing run and then Abreu walked to reset the table for Bernie who doubled home all three base runners for a 4-1 lead. Then in the seventh inning A-Rod knocked in another run which pushed the score to 5-1 and saved Mo for another day. That run proved very important because if the score remained 4-1, Mo would’ve pitched the ninth and I’m all for saving Mo’s arm a little bit here and there even though I know he has no problem pitching on back to back to back nights.
Chien-Ming Wang needs to pitch a good game tomorrow. 7 or 8 innings would be paradise. Everytime after Wright pitches I feel thirsty and the best quencher for that kind of thirst is an old fashioned complete game. Wang went the distance last time out, so maybe that means he only lasts 6 innings this time. I don’t know, but like always I see a sweep on the horizon and if the bullpen gets some more rest then that could become a reality. One thing I’ve learned from this season is the wonders that a rested bullpen can do. Now I know why the White Sox were so good last year.
Also good news, Utley got #33. I wouldn’t mind seeing a 50 gamer in my lifetime. Got a ways to go though. Keep up the chase.
Chien-Ming Wang was in control from the start, putting the first 12 batters he faced back in the dugout until Wigginton singled to begin the 5th inning. Overall, 18 of Wang’s 27 outs were on the ground. Before tonight Wang had pitched into the ninth inning twice this season. The first time was last month when he allowed the walk-off home run to Zimmerman and the second time was only three weeks ago when he allowed 6 hits and 1 run to the D’Rays. Wang was very efficient on all three occasions though, needing less than 107 pitches to enter the ninth frame. He leads both Moose and R.J. in innings pitched. Wang has 148 IP, Mussina has 141 1/3, and Johnson has 135. I like Chien-Ming a lot and I think unless we’re getting Liriano or Pujols in return, we need to keep him. We now have two starting pitchers with 12 wins and one with 11 wins. Our top 3 starters combine for 35 wins and 15 losses. Now we only need Wright and Ponson to find some consistency and we’ll have a very solid rotation.
5 of our 6 RBIs came with 2 outs. Damon led off the game with his 24th double of the season and Jeter sacrificed him to third. Then if I remember correctly Giambi struck out or grounded out and A-Rod singled up the middle to score Damon. The Yanks took advantage of 7 walks to plate a few more, and then staged another mini rally a few innings later and Bernie put the icing on the cake when he lined a bullet over the center field wall. A patient offense and efficient pitching made this win a snap.
Wang’s complete game bodes well for the rest of the series. It allowed the bullpen another day of rest so they’ll be ready to go tomorrow when The Big Unit takes the hill. Extending this 4 game win streak a few games would be awesome, just like Utley adding #28 to his hit streak. If he multiplies it by 2 he’ll tie DiMaggio. Good luck, Chase. I’d like to see someone break Joltin’ Joe’s record, but I don’t think it will happen.
Now that Atlanta have dealt Wilson Betemit to the Dodgers, I hope the rumors about trading away Scott Proctor disappear. Getting rid of our best set up man is simply and undeniably a bad idea. Unless, of course, if we’re getting both Gordon and Abreu in return. Otherwise, a Proctor-for-Betemit deal is hogwash. I can’t believe that possibility even entered someone’s mind. I really hope Proctor stays on board. Same with Melky. I wouldn’t mind seeing Bubba or Guiel or Phillips go (in that order). And parting with Farnsworth would make sense if we get a more consistent pitcher in return, preferably one with a fully functioning back. I think Farnsworth is valuable on our side though, so I have no problem with keeping him. But right now Proctor is one of the best non-closer relievers in the AL and downgrading the bullpen for an extra bat won’t be beneficial in the long run, so I see no reason why we’d need to trade him. I just don’t understand how that silly rumor was created in the first place.
Haven’t done this in awhile:
Todd Jones saved his 28th game. Jenks saved his 27th. B.J. Ryan saved his 25th. Wagner saved his 21st. Dempster saved his 19th. Fuentes saved his 18th. Mike Gonzalez saved his 17th. Guardado saved his 11th.
Also, check out the interview Rivera did for the Hall of Fame website after recording his 400th save. I learned that Mariano would like to be a car mechanic if he wasn’t a pitcher.