Wang Lets Them Hang

This is how big the ball probably looked to Red Sox batters in their 8-4 win over the Yankees.

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Clearly, the Wanger is still searching for his sinker. He was leaving the balls up in the zone and getting whacked.
Not that Wakefield had pinpoint control. His catcher was dancing around trying to keep up with the knuckler, and I kept thinking the guy needed a glove the size and shape of this chair.
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I have no idea why the Yankees left just about every position player back in Tampa, but I’d like to think Mark Teixeira wouldn’t have bungled those two chances in the first inning the way Juan Miranda did.
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Still, there was good news for the Yanks. Brett Tomko and Kei Igawa were actually effective! Yet again! No Bombkos for Tomko and not a single run this spring for Igawa, whom I affectionally refer to as the Iguana.
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I lost interest in the later innings (it didn’t feel like a typical Yankees-Red Sox game except when fans chanted the old familiar “Yankees suck”); it became a contest between Pawtucket and Trenton and I had no idea who anybody was. Still, some random thoughts.
* Terry Francona was very tan.
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* John Rodriguez, the Yankees’ default DH, was no J-Rod.
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* Mike Lowell was in great shape, which gave me hope that players with torn labrums can come back strong.
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* Brett Gardner was hallucinating that he was a slugger.
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He was up with the bases loaded in the third and struck out with a big, stupid, looping swing instead of just slapping or poking the ball the way he’s supposed to.
* Shelley Duncan’s days as a Yankee are numbered.
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* Infielder Ramiro Pena continues to impress me with his smooth hands.
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* Except for the fact that they’re Red Sox announcers, I like the Red Sox announcers.
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They always sound as if they’re having a good time. What’s more, they’re very fair and even-handed, and I appreciate that.
* It’s entirely possible that I’m falling in love with Xavier Nady.
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19 Comments

I agree i don’t think we’ll be seeing too much more of Shelly, he’ll be joining Kevin Maas and Shane Spencer in the Yankee Greats For a Moment Club. Also Igawa is looking great this spring, i think he could be effective out of the pen but i hope the Yanks never let him start a game again.
-Robb Jersey Hardball
http://www.jerseyhardball.blogspot.com

You’re paying far too close attention to spring training games; sorta like those guys who bet on pre-season football. And I dunno if I’d like having a nickname like “The Wanger”.
http://www.paullebowitz.com/

Jane – You took Scott’s membership away? Really? But he’s eating his crow and mushroom stew! LOL!
Why do you guys still have Igawa? Doesn’t he blow games for you all the….wait…this could work. Yes, ummm…good work Igawa! Keep it up…maybe they’ll even give you a chance to blow a game, I mean START a game this year…LOL!
Note to Yankees – Miranda really needs more practice. He looked comfortable, but had a bad case of butterfingers last night.
Canuck

I have no worries about our pitchers. ST stats mean absolutely nothing unless you’re trying for a job. On that note, I love Gardner, Nady, and Melancon, but I am not a Swisher fan or a Melky fan. They just don’t do it for me (I know that’s quite vague but that’s really all I could say about it-just a bad feeling.).

I have loved Xavier for so long and I’m glad Yankee fans like him. If he has to play for the enemy he might as well be welcomed there.
-Ellie
http://mrmetbro.blogspot.com

I thought the Red Sox announcers did a good job. I would have preferred to listen to Michael Kay, of course, but Remy and the other guy were pretty good. Yeah, Shelley Duncan is just another member of the Brian Doyle Club. I am not sure what I think about Tomko. I don’t like taking someone who has played for about every MLB club, but on the other hand, he’s pitching fairly effectively this spring. Same with Igawa. But with Igawa, he pitches great in ‘no pressure’ situations so he’d fold once the season starts. I still think he’d look great in a Padres uniform…

Scott
http://fotr.mlblogs.com

I liked the game! Without a doubt, but of the starting pitchers did not bring their A games – but it was nice, as a Red Sox fan, to see a number of our starters hit Wang about. And Jane – A-Rod twice? Have a great one! I’m looking forward to the April wager – and Jane – it was cruel to take away Scott’s Yankees membership! HE stepped up for the team! Where is the fan support!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Jane,You really do take these ST games seriously! I wouldn’t worry about Wang, it always takes awhile for pitchers to find their stuff, especially sinkerballers. I would worry more if he continues to struggle during the spring. And I’m sure the Yankees didn’t bring any of their regular position players with them because they want to give the minor leaguers some work. They want to get the outfield situation settled between Melky and Gardner, and who needs to go during the next round of cuts. The BoSox better enjoy it now, because they’re not going to be seeing the likes of Shelley Duncan and Juan Miranda during the regular season.
-Erin
http://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com/

People in the stands always seem to forget that when a pitcher gets hit hard, most nights he is fighting to use all three, or more, of his pitches. A pitcher’s third pitch can be their salvation some nights. Relievers can get away with two pitches, but a starter has to have three or more to keep the hitters guessing at the plate.

Wang is seeking his sinker. That could spell disaster if he is not comfortable with three or more by the beginning of the season. Let use a Rays example for a second. Scott Kazmir is not feeling his slider either. And it caused a ruckus all over his game last year.

Hitters at this level can all scope out a fastball and curveball. But it is the off-speed and breaking pitches that keep them honest at the plate. Three pitches is a mandatory requirement in the big leagues. Without it, his control and placement will be tested every time out on the mound.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Glad you enjoyed the game (sort of). I know it’s only Spring Training, but it’s the Yankees vs. the Red Sox. I am very gald that Tomko did well. Be careful with Nady. Don’t forget that you’re married!
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

Robb, I’m afraid that’s where Shelley is destined to be: in the club with Maas and Spencer. I remember when Maas was on the cover of New York Magazine as the next great hope. Oh, well.

I love “the Wanger,” Paul. Wang is a guy who never speaks. His nickname makes him smile a little. That’s something!

Canuck, I had no idea what you were talking about when you said I took away Scott’s membership….until I went to his blog. LOL! As I wrote there, once a Yankee fan always a Yankee fan. And I thought he did a great job of crow-eating. And yes, Miranda needs more practice. That’s why he’s still in the minors.

I really liked Melky in ’07, Letsgoyankees, but he regressed and I don’t see him coming back. I hope I’m wrong. He’s got a good arm.

Ellie, there’s something about Nady (not his looks). He just goes out there and plays. No histrionics. Kind of intense. Seems like a good teammate. Hits with power and consistency. OK, and his looks don’t hurt.

Scott (still a member of the Universe in good standing), I agree about both pitchers. Igawa is setting himself up as trade bait. Tomko could get the long relief job if they decide Aceves needs to stay in Scranton. I know he’s well traveled, but somebody’s got to eat innings.

That’s what makes horse races, as my grandmother used to say, Julia. I didn’t think the game was particularly interesting, and not because the Yankees lost. Even Remy said at one point, heavy on the sarcasm, “Well, this has been a crisp, well-played game.” I think they were still in the third inning after well over an hour. But if I were a Sox fan, I’d be very heartened to see Lowell returning to form. He looked great. Ortiz too.

I’m not really worried about Wang, Erin. He’s coming back from a serious injury and didn’t start throwing off the mound until fairly recently. There’s bound to be a good deal of rust.

Well said, Renegade. These guys need their bread-and-butter pitches, but they need variety too, to keep the hitters honest. The only one who gets away with one pitch is Mo. Amazingly.

I’ll try to contain my growing attachment to Nady, Kaybee.🙂

Mike Mussina told a funny story about the Wanger in Joe Torre/Tom Verducci’s book. The day before the game 4 start against the Indians, Mussina was in the outfield with Wang and said (I’m paraphrasing from memory because I don’t feel like going to find the book), “You pitch tomorrow?” and Wang said, “No, YOU pitch tomorrow!”
Mussina didn’t know if Wang was kidding; if he wanted Mussina to pitch instead; or if it was just a language barrier problem. I bet Wang understands more than he lets on even with teammates and was kidding around, but who knows?
http://www.paullebowitz.com/

Funny anecdote from Torre’s book, Paul. Matsui knows a lot of English but pretends he doesn’t, so he won’t have to answer questions without a translator. But Wang is genuinely shy and doesn’t go out of his hotel room, so who knows what he understands. I remember George King of the Post telling me that it was only Mike Myers who took the time to get Wang out to restaurants and teach him some of our quaint American customs, and that once Myers was DFA-ed, Wang went right back into his shell.

Jane,

I can picture Wang going around quoting all of the Austin Powers movies now. Haha. Imagine if it was that Mike Myers though?

Greg
Red Sox Ramblings: http://thevendahhh.mlblogs.com

If it was that Mike Myers, Greg, there would have been a lot more laughs in the clubhouse!

People always say that spring training games don’t mean anything, but when the games do determine who will be playing opening day, doesn’t that mean something?
Sounds like our Duncan brother (Chris) is doing better than yours (Shelly), but he still makes me nervous.
Nady could totally be a guy to love.
-Kathy
http://redbirdchatter.mlblogs.com

Yeah, Kathy, our Duncan is just so-so. He doesn’t have any real weapon that makes him stand out from the pack. When he first came up and hit three homers right away, I thought he was our next slugger. But it’s more likely he’s a career minor leaguer. As for Nady? How can you not love a guy named Xavier?

Jane, think about the game this way: Pawtucket 8, Trenton 4. Then maybe it won’t seem so bad.
Shelley
http://diamonddiva.mlblogs.com/

That’s kind of how I did think of it, Shelley. It just didn’t have the tension of a regular season game.

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