Tuesday, May 27, 2008

We are not going to win every game the rest of season...

I have a few minutes break from my works I need to be done in 2 hours. We already played one -third of 2008 season. My first impression is AL East going to be the toughest division in the major this season. Our bombers are going to have a big task on their hands to get into playoff.

I have no problem on sending Damon home on Matsui's single with two out because we have to take chances to score first run of ballgame. You never know what will happen. It may only take one run to win this ballgame. On top of that, I don't trust Shelley Duncan on that spot. The more I saw Shelley Duncan playing, the more I believe he couldn't hit well enough in the major because he can't deal with breaking pitches. Don't get me wrong, I like Shelley's passion and energy, but it seems that's not enough if he keep hitting like this. I sad this before, I think we should consider to let Shelley figure out in minor if we can't give him enough playing time. But, again, Ensberg doesn't hit well as well. That's why we keep having problems with lefty.

I also don't have problems on pitching Veras and Hawkins. Girardi is right. We can't use the same guys everyday and blow out their arms. Others in the bullpen have to step up. If Joba is still in the bullpen, we never find out who is his replacement. Some people may say we may not lose this game if Joba is there. Come on, guys. Even though Joba and Mo pitch three scoreless innings, it doesn't guarantee we are able to score one run to tie the game. Even if we tie the game in the 9th inning, we are still going to lose this game later if the rest guys in the bullpen can't step up. In my opinion, our bullpen is fine. You can't expect them to be perfect all the time. They have been pitched very well this season. Not to mention we have more capable arms down the farm system.

This is one of those games you tip your cap to opposition pitchers and move on to the next game. If we somehow can win next two games to keep winning series, we will be fine. We are not going to win every game the rest of season. But, damn, Can we stop making every lefty like a Cy Young winner? Brian Cashman really have to figure out to get us some good or great right handed batters before trading deadline while we are waiting for the return of Posada. At least, he has to do that this off-season.

The brightest spot of today game is Rasner pitching well. It seems to me we find another good arm(Rasner). Unfortunately, we couldn't score for him. This sounds a familiar problem, right? In my opinion, we haven't came out this offense slump yet.

I can't wait to see Wang, Pettitte, Mussina, Rasner, Joba, Hughes and Kennedy all pitching well at the same time. We are going to beat a lot of opponents. I expect Wang and Pettitte picking up their games when the weather is heating up. Not enough spot? Are you kidding me? I just hope they all stay healthy. It's not going to hurt to give Mussina, Joba, Hughes and Kennedy extra rest once a while. It's also not going to hurt to not to overextend Wang and Pettitte's outings as well.

Let's go for 6

I can't believe it, but this is my 200th post. I want to thank everyone for reading my blog. I can't do this without you guys, especially I was frustrated at some incidents early on and almost giving up this blog.

I am keeping one eye on Yankees game because I really need to get something done by tomorrow. It seems to me Rasner start this game well and I am so happy for him. How scare we will be if he can keep pitching well for us the whole season.

By the way, two random thought. First, where they find so many lefty pitching against us? I hate seeing lefty one after another. Secondly, Webb just starts his first two innings against Braves by giving up 5 runs after starting his season 9 wins in a row. It leads me to think baseball is a long season with a lot of up and down for a lot of players, including some slumping Yankees, such as Wang, Pettitte, Kennedy, Jeter, Melky,etc. I have faith on them. I will come back for more. Need to do some works.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sweep! Yes

Are you one of those Yankees fans giving up after Mariners extend their lead to 5? I am not. If you were one of those persons, you would miss one of great Yankees come front behind victory.

First of all, Wang didn't look good and pitch well and I believe more people come out to kill Wang today. I just hope this outing result from extra day rest, not his injury right calf. As we all know, Pitchers need their legs under them and right leg is Wang's push-off leg. We couldn't offer to lose Wang to extend period of time.

Secondly, I am surprised at seeing that Wang went out to pitch 7th inning when you consider his pitch count(almost 100) after 6 innings, his slight right calf injury and his terrible command during the whole game. I have faith on our bullpen. Why not make sure not to overextend Wang and keep him healthy for the whole season?

Clearly, Wang was tired when I saw him giving up two hard hit balls in the 7th inning. Girardi should make a change when Wang give up that line drive off Jeter's glove. Furthermore, Girardi should go to Edwar for strikeout once Wang gave up second hit and put runners on second and third bases. I don't get it. I think Girardi should not push starters too hard which is opposite problem for Joe Torre who always push bullpen too hard.

I was very surprised and disappointed at the performance of Ichiro as well. I never thought I would see Ichiro playing like his mind is off-field. For example, Ichiro should be able to throw out Matsui for Cano's sacrifice fly and he should be able to catch Monlina's double. I may set the standard too high for Ichiro.

By the way, Can we please get a real first baseman? I told you guys before, I think Duncan play better as right outfielder than as first baseman. But, please don't tell me Giambi.

I am so happy to see Yankees going back to .500 for this exciting come from behind victory, but I wish I just worry too much about Wang.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dream about this...

I am all for putting Joba in the starting rotation. It's much easier to find a pitcher pitching well in one inning than a pitcher pitching well in 6 to 7 innings. If it doesn't work out, we always can put Joba back to the bullpen and prepare him as Mo's successor.

I am kind of person always like to face new challenge. I believe Joba(most athletes) is the same kind of person. If we never try, we will never know what will happen. I also believe we can find another Joba-like set-up man down the farm. On top of that, I don't think we need to worry about closer's situation when you consider how good Mo has been.

I believe a lot of people will point their fingers to how bad Kyle Farnsworth pitch today or that Met game which he gave up two home runs to prove their point why shouldn't turn Joba into a starter . In my opinion, relievers except inhuman Mo will have one of those days. As long as he pitch well at the majority of appearances, I am fine with that. I actually think Farnsworth doesn't pitch too bad today. He gave up that single after 13 pitches at bat and let Sexson run into a homer when he try to run a fastball inside that most Yankees pitchers got him tonight. Unfortunately, Kyle put the ball a little bit middle of the plate. Don't get me wrong, I don't trust Kyle, but I believe we have good bullpen, such as Veras, Edwar,....etc.

Close your eyes and dream about this. In 2009, we have a rotation including Wang, Joba, Hughes, Kennedy, Pettitte(I hope Andy come back for one more season). WoW!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

That's why you need to keep watching game...

I have to talk about Mets first. I hate those Mets dancing and act cockily when they won two games against us at Yankees Stadium. That's why I am so happy to hear they got swept by Brave, especially Johan Santana can't be their stopper while Kennedy pitch well at the same day. I know it's only one day and Santana still pitch pretty well so far this season.

I am always the one only care about how Yankees performance. The reason I am so mad because I heard Willie Randolph saying "You can't assume getting the same offense against Braves like we did against Yankees when you consider what kind of pitching staff Yankees have " when he was asked by reporters before Santana's start why Mets' offense have been struggle mighty against Braves. Don't get me wrong. I like Willie Randolph, but why say this kind of words("What kind of pitching staff Yankees have")?

I believe that most Yankees fans like me have faith on our team and that's why we keep watching games. Those games in the past week you hope you miss them, but these 4 games this week you better not to miss. It seems that first game against Orioles will be our turning point of the season, right?

One thing Todd is right on the money,

They will tighten up the defense and pound out some hits and runs tonight.

They certainly play good defense, pitch well, and score some runs at the last couple of games. But the thing I like the most is tactics from Joe Girardi. For example, Girardi play hit and run at the 2-1 game that leads to first run of game. He also put Kennedy in the spot which he has to work out of his own trouble in the 6th inning. I like this and he is right. I think Girardi said, "he can't expect to be rescued all the time". This is the way to let young pitchers grow up.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I told you so...

Follow me to repeat this word "DEFENSE". You can't win a champion without "decent" defense. You can see the reaction from Jeter toward Cano who is supposed to be on second base to receive the force, but Jeter should take some blame for high throw to first base as well. Damon also lost a flyball.

Most people always say, Pitchers should pick up his teammates after errors. In my opinion, Pitchers are human beings as well, how come you can expect them to keep their emotion in check every time when position players make errors, especially when you consider if those errors lead to runs.

But, Of course, Moose and Jeter doesn't point their fingers to anyone else but themselves. I believe they will turn this around from their reactions after the game.

When we feel good about the return of A-Rod, Jeter gets hit on his hand whose status is listed day to day.

Can this be our turning point of season? I hope so. Oh, By the way, A-Rod hit a two run homer and it seems Edwar Ramirez is a real deal.

Numbers on Wang

These are some numbers on Wang so far this season which can help me to explain the Wang's performance.

Run support 3.78 (Beckett 7.33 /Webb 6.82 /Dice-K 6.46/ Santana 6/Sabathia 5.30/ Mussina 5.07/ Saunders 4.67 / Shields 4.46/Lee&Pettitte 4.25/ Bedard 4.10/ Halladay3.38)

ERA 3.51 IP 66.2(Lead-Halladay 69.2/10 Starts) H 56 E(ER) 26 HR 2 WHIP 1.17
Home(6G) 5.02 Road(4G) 1.55
Day(2G) 0.00 Night(8G) 4.36
Grass(9G) 3.77 Turf(1G) 1.29
April(6G) 3.23 May(4G) 3.90

BAA .266 /OBP .289/ SLG .302/ OPS .592/vs Left .236 /vs Right .216
leading off .269 /Bases empty.224 /Runner on 1B .263/ Runner on 2B .167/ Runner on 3B .250
/Runners on 1B,2B .220/ Runners on 1B,3B .333/ Runners on 2B,3B .167/ Bases Loaded .400/ RISP .206 .182

BB 22/ vs Left 16/ vs Right 6(only one game without issuing walks, others walk 2 or 3 per game) (Webb 17)

G/F 2.13(Webb 3.47)
P/IP 14.4(Webb 14.3) P/PA 3.52(Webb 3.56)
K/9 5.27(Webb 6.96)
Quality Starts 8 out of 10(Webb 8 out of 9)

First of all, I am pretty sure tons of people killing Wang after this game. In fact, Wang is very hard on himself on post-game interview with Taiwanese media even though Taiwanese media keep asking the impact of lack of run support on his pitching.

Basically, This is what Wang said,

"I am very disappointed at myself and my poor performance","I didn't give my team a chance to win.","I gave up too many runs","Lost command and threw too many balls down the middle in the fourth inning","I just try to focus on producing double play ball and slow down everything in that fourth inning."

Pitchers will never admit the impact of lack of run support on their pitching, but how can you not try to be perfect when you know you are going to lose game if you give up one or two runs. Look at the number on run support I give to you above, only Halladay receive fewer run support than Wang among pitchers in that list above. In fact, Bombers only score 2 runs when Wang pitches during 25.2 inning span since third inning against Mariners.

But, this also leads to my first observation about Wang's pitching. Wang need to figure out a way to pitch well from stretch immediately, especially how not to lose the bite on his sinkers. Furthermore, don't try to focus on producing double play solely when there are runners on bases because opponents will know the sinker is coming. On top of that, we all know how good Yankees' defense is, especially when you consider Wang may get see-eye single as well.

As you guys see the stats above, Wang improve all pitching stats so far this season, including whip, hit&HR allowed, BAA against left and right, ERA(especially on road), percentage of Quality Starts, Innings pitched and Strikeouts/9, etc. Only strange thing is Wang's home ERA, but I expect this will come back to normal very soon.

But, Wang issues a little more free passes this season. The reason is I think Wang still try to command all the pitches(sinkers, sliders, change-ups, splitters, four-seamers) and learn how to mix them during this transition period of time. Because that, it seems Wang throws more cookies down the middle(bad pitches) than preview seasons even though he gives up fewer hits.

Conclusion? If Wang can improve this two aspects of games, he will be even better. As a Taiwanese, I can tell you one thing for sure. A lot of fans on Taiwanese website discuss Wang's weakness and wish he can use this opportunity to improve. I believe Wang can do it, not just focus how many run support he gets. Furthermore, we will turn this around if everyone on the team only think about how to improve themselves and how to help each other out.

Is it just me to feel this? Does Wang lose some velocity? I saw Wang's velocity around 90-92 so far this season and hit 93.94 once a while. I may think too much, but I remember Wang's velocity should hit 93, 94 more often. Hopefully, Wang's velocity heat up when weather heat up. Wang may just sacrifice some velocity in order to have better command on his sinkers. Furthermore, I never understand why Wang doesn't throw more four-seamers that usually sit around 94.95.

My questions about Bullpen

Is it just me to feel this way? First of all, I don't have stats on my hand, but It seems to me Ohlendorf has allowed a lot of inherited runners to score so far based on my observation. This is not a good sign for a good relief pitcher.

Secondly, Are they going to use Chris Britton? If they are not going to use him, why not call up another position player to see what he can do when our offense obviously struggle. For example, Brett Gardner will be a good option for me. They may do it anyway now when they activate A-Rod. But, it still confuses me when they put someone on the roster this long without using him.

Subway Series Round 2-Terrible Defense

I was able to catch up this game last night when our Bombers were having a must need off day. I start thinking I may need to root for Red Sox in order to let Yankees win because of my bad luck even though I didn't watch this game live.

Obviously, I know the score before I watch this game. I don't like to do this, but I was shocked by scoreline. That's why I want to find out exactly what happened in this game.

I actually can sum up this game by using a quote from Ichiro Suzuki who is the position player on other teams I like when he was asked the difference between Western Baseball(American Baseball) and Eastern Baseball(Japan, Taiwan, Korea...),(By the way, Roy Halladay is the pitcher on other teams I like and enjoy watching him pitching)

"In Western Baseball, they play to score runs. On the other hand, In Eastern Baseball, we play to prevent other teams from scoring."

I know this quote from some news related to Ichiro. That's why I always pay more attention on pitching and defense. I usually feel more angry at terrible pitching and shoddy defense, not at spotty offense which actually become a big problem for Yankees.

If our Bombers have troubles with scoring runs, would you guys please play better defense? This is exactly what I feel when I watch this game. I was very disappointed at defense of Alberto Gonzalez at 3B and Jason Giambi at 1B. Gonzalez drop two pop-ups and let on potential double play go through his glove(single by Wright) in this series, not to mention the horrible throw from Giambi. Wang didn't pitch well in that inning, but he certainly can get out of that inning without allowing runs or too many runs. I will talk about Wang's performance in another post later on.

On top of that, Ensberg doesn't play good defense at 3B as well. Even if Betemit doesn't get hurt, he is not good at 3B either. This is probably the most happiest thing about the return of A-Rod. I am glad we have our real third baseman back.

You can't win a champion with terrible defense even you have a pitching staff with all strikeout pitchers because you can't expect pitchers strike out all 27 hitters. During playoff, most games probably may be decided by how good your defense is.

I am tired of watching Giambi on 1B because he doesn't have any range and can't throw the ball. Is it time to give Shelley Duncan more playing time to see what he can do offensively? I said on preview post regard for weakness of offense of Shelley Duncan, but it may change if we give him regular playing time, especially when you consider we really need a power right-handed bat.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

2008 Subway Series Round 1 Pettitte vs Santana

First of all, This game was started at 3am and ended in 7am in Sydney. When you consider the time of the game, this is good game to watch and keep me away from falling sleep.

I guess a lot of people killing Yankees now. Are you one of them? When they lose games, tons of people jump on them and can't wait to kill them, especially those so called shortsighted "experts". If you come here to read negative things about Yankees, you come to the wrong place.

Do I worry about Andy? No. Based on what I saw today's game, Andy will be fine as long as he is healthy. He just doesn't have luck at all recently. I actually feel Andy pitch better than Santana who is not impressive at all, especially when you consider we don't have Posada and A-Rod in the lineup and tons of our hitters are struggling.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying Santana pitched badly. I have been watched few Santana's games this few years. I just don't think he is the same dominant pitcher and I am glad Yankees don't trade young kids for him. Down the road, maybe 2 years later, this non-trade move by Cashman may make him look like a genius. We will see.

I am glad to see Pettitte going out for 6th inning and finish that inning because it allows Girardi not to pitch Ohlendorf. This is good move when you consider Ohlendorf is the same style of pitcher as Wang(sinker/slider). If Ohlendorf pitch today, this may give Mets' hitters better preparation for tomorrow Wang's game.

I see a lot of good signs from our hitters, such as Jeter, Giambi, Abreu. But, the bottom of lineup is killing Yankees now. Duncan is dead fastball hitter. I think it's time to consider another option down the minors, such as speedy Brett Gardner. If Duncan can't improve and prove he can adjust to breaking pitches, he won't be successful in the major. I also think it's about time to cut Ensberg once A-Rod is back and healthy. Ensberg is not the same player as he was few years ago. As long as we have Alberto Gonzalz for infielders' replacement and Betemit will come back eventually, we should be fine.

I know our bullpen blow the game today, but they can't be good every time out when you consider they have been pitched great recently. That's why I give them a pass today. If Kyle and Joba come out and pitch great next time out, we will be fine.

Good news is A-Rod had his first reb game. If everything goes well, we will see him soon. Can't wait to have him back.

Tomorrow is another big game for Wang. We need to stay close to .500. It seems we say this every time when Wang take the mound. Hopefully, Wang will be able to give us a great game. Talk about pressure.

That's all for now. I need to go back to catch few hours sleep and then finish some works before Monday. I won't be able to watch Game 2 of subway series tomorrow because game will be started at 10am on Monday in Sydney. Hopefully, Without me watching, it may bring Yankees more luck. I always feel it's my fault to bring bad luck to Yankees when I watch Yankees losing games because I am the one doesn't have any luck at all in my life.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pitching is so hard...

This is my thought recently when it comes down to our young pitchers. I know they are struggling now, especially when you consider Hughes is even on the DL and Johan Santana is coming for Subway Series. But, we need to be patience. I am not sure who will pay off eventually among all the young pitchers we have, but I have faith on them.

Pitching is so hard. You can lose a game when you miss few pitches. Look at Kennedy's last start as an evidence.

I always remember Everyone talk about no.3 is Wang's highest ceiling when he just call up. I always remember Yankees almost trade him with Cano to get Randy Johnson. Every year, Yankees have their chance to trade Wang to a lot of stars, such as Zito, Beckett, Santana. But, they didn't do it. You may still want to do it, but I am not with you.

I always remember Myers said:"Wang won 19 games without knowing how to pitch." Wang still get long way to go and get a lot of stuffs need to improve on. For example, he need to learn how to read hitters, how to pitch, command all his pitches(sinkers, sliders, fastball, splitters, changeup), how to pitch better when there are men on bases.

But, Is it glad to see our homegrown Yankees' pitchers grow in front of our eyes? I have faith on them. Do you?

High Expectation comes from trust

I know Hank makes tons of noise recently while Cashman keep his cool at the same time. As you guys know my stand about this situation which I address earlier around January. Let us wait and see Hank can keep be a good boss or not. He may just show some frustration because of his high expectation on his team. He may just try to show Yankees fans that front office care their feeling and know their high expectation when Cashman try to rebuild this team and a lot of people speculate Yankees' attitude that they are ready to sacrifice this year for that.

I believe most Yankees fans trust our beloved Yankees who will do their best. That is why we have high expectation about our team. This is a study I read recently about "trust".

"Psychologists approach trust as the generalized expectation of an individual that the promise of another individual can be relied upon."

"In general, trust is defined in terms of three central characteristics: reliability, predictability and fairness"

I think we can rely on Pettitte, Wang, Mussina, Jeter, Mo, Posada, A-Rod, Joba, Melky, Cano, Matsui, Damon, Giambi, Cashman, Hank, farm system,......

I know this sound crazily...

We all know our Yankees struggle mighty right now. For me, this is our great chance to fix it and figure out those weakness that stop us from 27th World Series Champion for years.

I know our young pitchers haven't pitched well so far, but we need a depth rotation in order to succeed in October.

I know our hitters haven't hit well so far, but we need our pitchers get used to have fewer runs to work with which will be the situation they face in October.

I know every opponent pitcher become Cy Young Winner against Yankees when they throw strikes, especially those pitch with their left hand. But, we need to learn how to adjust quickly and come up with timing and situational hitting.

I know our starters haven't pitched deep into the game so far and lead Girardi use bullpen a lot, but we need to have a deep bullpen in order to shut down opposition late in the game. It's time to find the diamonds in our farm system.

Getting Better

I have been sick for almost two weeks because of Australia's terrible weather. Thanks for all the patience from all my loyal readers. Due to my illness, I have been watched Yankees games off and on for a while. If I make mistakes on any opinion regard for Yankees, please let me know in the comment section.

Obviously, Our beloved Yankees team is in as bad condition as mine. I believe most of you guys have this kind of experience. When you are sick, all kinds of illness keep piling up because different bacterium and viruses keep invading into your weaken immune system. That's why I have been sick almost two weeks now.

But, one day, you will suddenly feel better and feel nothing ever happen. The same goes to our Yankees. They will get better. Maybe it will happen tongiht against Johan Santana.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

talk about ugly game

It's amazing how I can stay watching this whole Igawa's game when you consider how sick I have been this whole week. I have to admit I give Igawa up when I saw the way he pitch. Would Yankees please let anyone else pitch at Igawa's next turn against Ray? Anyone? How worse that person can be than him? It kills me watching him on the mound.

Can Yankees stop letting every opponent pitcher look like Cy Young, especially when you consider how bad Tigers' pitching staff have been? On top of that, both teams play some ugly defense all night as well.

Updated: I am glad I keep watching the whole game and didn't give up even though we didn't come from behind, but at least we let Tigers sweat in the 9th inning. Man, When I saw Shelley Duncan line out, I miss A-Rod at that spot. It also seems Cano warm up little by little which is good news for us. On top of that, We also got great performance from our bullpen again, but the bad news is Albaladejo is hurt. Can we please close the gate toward to DL party?

P.S. If you ask my opinion, I rather have Gonzalez than Betemit. I am always the one pay more attention on defense and pitching than offense, especially when you consider Betemit can't hit well as a right-handed hitter.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Live Blog: CLE@NYY Lee VS Wang

I have been so sick this past week, but I finally get a little bit better today. That's why I am able to write this live blog.

I always feel first two innings are big ones for Wang.

Updated: it turns out I am right. Not look good so far for Yankees, especially when I saw Yankees batting at bottom of 1th inning.
Updated: I believe Wang will settle down after two innings. If Yankees can't score 2 runs for him, well, what can you say?
Updated: Can Yankees please work the count a little bit more? I know it seems Lee has good command today, but still???
Updated: An old saying goes, great pitcher always struggle early. Hopefully, we can get to Lee later on.
Updated: Are we going to score off Lee? Man, it doesn't look good so far. Let me put in another way. Can we at least put couple of men on base?
Updated: If you are one of those guys are leaving and don't want to keep watching this game, you are not true Yankees fan.
Updated: I finally see two Yankees standing on the bases.
Updated: How can't Yankees hit lee when he almost can't throw breaking balls for strikes? Only thing he throw for strikes is fastball which is around 90.
Updated: I will be shocked if I see Wang pitching for 8th inning. Wang didn't pitch badly, but Lee is better. Or, you can say that Yankees' offense sucks. I think Lee has better stuff than Wang today, so I am disappointed at Wang's outing. Indians just don't miss few bad pitches Wang threw. When you see box score and compare Wang's line with Lee's line, you can tell all those stuffs I am talking about. It's tough for being a pitcher, you can lose a game for a bad pitch. Just like C.C. lost that game to Wang two starts ago.
Updated:I like what I saw from Farnsworth and Albaladejo. We are going to have a very good bullpen, especially the way Girardi use them. A lot of pitchers can get tons of confidence. On top of that, we have tons of good pitchers down the minors.
Updated: I don't know the outcome of this game, but I enjoy watching this game because fighting spirit Yankees show me tonight. When you see Captain, Derek Jeter, call strikeout for check swing. By the way, Molina has a outstanding defense night for us.
Updated: Well, as you guys know, we lost the game. Of course, I am not happy with result, but I am not disappointed at watching this game.

P.S. I know I am late for this updated news about Wang's game. Wang told Taiwanese media as follow. This is his fault to lose this game because hitters have nothing to do with the outcome of game. You can't expect them to score a lot of runs all the time even though we have a lot of good hitters on the team. He said he didn't have good command and threw too many balls. He always want to win every game. As usual, he will do his best next time out.