Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wang Dang Doodle

I'm not entirely sure that Wang Dang Doodle is the appropriate title for this entry, given Wang's final line on the day. However, I was remiss in not choosing Wang Dang Doodle for the game preview, given the passing of the Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor, yesterday. Wang Dang Doodle, though originally a Willie Dixon composition for Howlin' Wolf, was Taylor's signature song. Get Back was probably the better pick for the game itself, but we wish Ms. Taylor all the best as she moves on to the great gig in the sky.

For the second time in three days I'm doing the game recap without actually having watched the game, so today's recap will be based mainly on my observations from watching GameDay on From that vantage point it seemed liked a tale of two games for Wang. It took Wang eight pitches to strike out lead-off hitter Ian Kinsler, and from there he cruised through the rest of his first trip through the order. By the time Kinsler came back around with two outs in the third, Wang had thrown only 29 pitches, 21 of them for strikes (72.4%). He allowed just one hit, K'd 3, recorded four groundball outs, four one-pitch outs, and needed more than five pitches for just one batter. He was ahead 1-0 thanks to a Johnny Damon lead-off HR.

I was surprised at the Rangers' refusal to make Wang work the first time through. Part of that was a function of his being around the plate so consistently, but one would think that a potent offensive line-up like Texas would exploit Wang's previously disclosed 80 pitch limit and wear him out. His teammates might not have followed his lead the first time through, but Kinsler's second PA changed the tenor of the afternoon.

Kinsler worked a six pitch walk, with ball four being a wild pitch that allowed Chris Davis to score. Michael Young followed with a basehit, and Blalock singled Kinsler home, before Nelson Cruz got caught looking to end the inning. All told, it took Wang 16 pitches to get that third out, surrending two runs, two hits, and a walk in the process.

Wang would scuttle again in the fourth, giving up lead-off single, followed by two doubles for two more runs. He then bore down to record his fifth K and his fifth and sixth groundball outs to get out of the inning down 4-0.

CMW looked like he had settled back down to start the fifth. He got two quick groundball outs, before leaving a 2-1 sinker up in the zone to Nelson Cruz, who promptly deposited it over the centerfield fence. It was the last pitch Wang through threw on the afternoon.

Despite being down 5-1, I didn't think Wang pitched that badly. I don't know how it looked, but GameDay showed his velocity and movement on his sinker as being good. He threw 68% of his pitches for strikes. He got his requisite groundouts, and even struck out five for good measure. His problems may have been a result of his need to build up stamina after all he's been through this season, which is why I question the decision to pull him from an inning with no one on and two outs, while he was still eleven pitches short of his limit.

Be that as it may, Girardi predictably turned to Alfredo Aceves to relieve Wang. After walking the first two batters he faced on nine pitches, "Ace" needed just one pitch to get Chris Davis to pop out and end the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Yankees retook the lead, taking Wang off the hook. Cervelli and Pena singled, then Damon and Swisher walked. A three run double off the glove of Michael Young by Teixeira tied the score, then A-Rod gave the Yankees the lead with RBI single. There was still no one out, and the Yankees continued the threat with a Robinson Cano single, the seventh straight Yankee to reach safely. However, a tough luck double play liner by Matsui eased the threat and a Melky Cabrera groundout ended the inning.

An Ian Kinsler home run tied the score at six in the sixth, and thanks to the relief work of Aceves, Phil Coke, and David Robertson, it remained that way into the bottom of the eighth. Cano led off with a walk. With one out, Melky Cabrera stepped to the plate and continued his late inning home heroics by knocking a two-run homer to left.

Mariano Rivera pitched into and out of trouble in the ninth, putting the tying run on base, before ending the threat and giving David Robertson a one pitch win. A third of the way through the season, the Yankees are tied for first place, tied for the best record in the AL, and on pace for 96 wins. More silly extrapolations to come tomorrow.


  1. GFY Mr Fhalk You.

    Signed THE DOODLE

  2. Matt,

    I wonder where last week's "your (sic) an idiot" guy is today. He could have caught you on "It was the last pitch Wang through (sic) on the afternoon." I'm sure you meant "threw". That was an amateur mistake.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. If he can't figure out "your" and "you're" he wasn't going to catch that.

    Fixed. Thank you.

    And since Jay has yet to start paying me for my work here I am an amateur and thus allowed an amateur mistake now and again.