With Brian Bruney returning tonight to help the beleaguered Yankee bullpen, the Yanks rolling on a 6 game winning streak and some favorable pitching match ups (2 of 3) for the upcoming series with the Orioles, all is well in Yankeeland. With Memorial Day approaching, its fair to start looking at the standings, and the Yanks sit at 3 out (in the loss) for the division and 1 out for the Wild Card, margins that can easily be made up in one week with 20 more weeks remaining in the season.
The only big question right now for the Yanks is when to call up Chien Ming Wang. He’s been dominating AAA hitters, but then again so did Darrell Rasner last year. Marc Craig of the Newark Star Ledger takes a look at this, and frankly he doesn’t add much to this discussion. But posts like this look more official when you link them to some dying newspaper for some reason.
Both Girardi and Cashman said that they are less concerned with his velocity than they are with his command (the movement) of his sinker. I don’t buy it for one minute. Wang’s game has always revolved around his ‘bowling ball’ 2 seamer. Hard and heavy, it forced hitters to take weak hacks against it and at his best he was a ground ball machine. His secondary pitches aren’t really big league offerings, and never were. So he needs the 2-seamer to set everything else up. Its possible they can try to reinvent him as a pitcher, like they did on his outing vs the Red Sox last year. Mix up his pitches more, keep the hitters off balance with the variety if not the quality of the pitches. He certainly has enough pitches to do so. Besides the sinker he also throws a 4 Seamer, Splitter, Slider and Change. Taking this approach with his lesser stuff will put even more of a premium on keeping his pitches down. Wang always got hit when his Sinker was up, but if his velocity is diminshed and he’s using more of his secondary arsenal, then anything above the waist will be crushed.
Simply put, at 93-95 MPH with the 2 seamer, he’s Chien Ming Wang. At 88-90 MPH he’s Sidney Ponson. I’d rather keep Hughes in the rotation than replace him with Sir Sidney Part 2.
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