Yankees 13 Astros 0: Yanks Win, Lose Wang

Today may have been somewhat of a Pyrrhic victory for the Yanks, blasting the Astros out of the water with an offensive maelstrom, getting great two-out hitting by scoring 11 of their 13 runs with two outs, earning the Crazy Stein, and moving to four games above .500 for the first time this year. But they lost Wang to what the Yankees are calling a sprained foot as he was rounding third and scoring on Jeter’s two-out, two-RBI single in the sixth. Wang was noticeably limping and could not put much pressure on his right foot–his foot for pushing off the rubber. Don’t be surprised to see Wang, who has pitched much better in his last two starts, land on the DL. Just what the Yanks need after an injury-riddled first 70 games.

The Yanks started fairly well against Oswalt, but let him off the hook in the second. Giambi led off with a single and Giambi walked, but three consecutive strikeouts from Cano, Melky, and Wang stranded them. But the Yanks’ patience paid big dividends in the third. Although JD and Jeter started with outs, Matsui ripped a double to center, Oswalt worked carefully to A-Rod by walking him on four pitches, Giambi worked a nine-pitch walk in a great at-bat to load the bases, and Jorge worked the count full before walking in the Yanks’ first run, 1-0. Cano then got extremely lucky. Although he swung at the first pitch and popped up, the ball luckily carried over third and into shallow left, scoring two, 3-0. Wang then worked around two weak singles from Oswalt and Erstad, and got some help from his D. With two outs, Tejada ripped one down to third, but A-Rod made a tremendous diving stop to his right, quickly got up and pegged out Tejada, who dove head first ala Melky, with ease. A-Rod is one heck of a well-rounded ball player, and he can not only pick it but also sling it. He saved a run for sure.

Wang then worked a 1-2-3 fourth, and got more defensive help in the fifth when Ausmus’s DP ball erased Bourn’s lead-off single. Oswalt was better at the plate than on the mound, earning his second hit, but was stranded before getting chased in the sixth when the Yanks scored eight runs with two outs. Jorge and Cano hit back-to-back singles to left, Melky made out on an F8, Wang’s bunt got Jorge at third for the second out. The Yanks caught and cashed in on a break when Tejada dropped an inning-ending force attempt to load the bases, and Jeter crisply singled to right, scoring Cano and Wang on the ill-fated play, 5-0. Wang started to favor the leg a couple strides after rounding third, then limped home. It was an odd injury in that it didn’t appear–to me anyway–that he turned his ankle. Maybe he just planted his right foot in an odd way. Either way, it’s a bad and ill-timed injury occurring just as the Yanks are getting hot, just as they’re getting a string of strong starts, just as Wang seems to have righted his ship. I must add that I’m impressed with Cano’s response to the injury, holding onto Wang as he crossed the plate, clearly knowing that Wang was hurt, staying bent over and talking with him. It may seem trivial but it’s anything but, to me. That’s being a good teammate, something that readers here know I take seriously. Cano was there for Wang though he could do little for him. I respect that. The Yanks continued to pour it on. Matsui singled to center off Wesley Wright’s first pitch, scoring JD, 6-0. A-Rod then jumped on Wright’s first pitch and blasted a homer to deep left-center, 9-0. After Wright hit Giambi, Jorge cranked a homer to deep left-center, 11-0.

Ohlendorf, Edwar, and Hawkins each worked an inning, allowing only a walk apiece and each getting a K in hitless stints. Giese worked a scoreless, one-hit ninth, also with a K. Cano showed good patience in the eighth. A-Rod singled, Moeller entered for Edwar and promptly doubled, Jorge walked to load the bases, and Cano worked a four-pitch walk, 12-0. Melky’s force capped the scoring, 13-0.

It was good to see the bullpen get work, especially Giese who has done well but has had little opportunity to pitch in recent wins. Wang was very good before his injury, scattering six hits in five innings, walking none, and fanning three on 71 pitches/51 strikes. His injury makes the staff even younger in his absence, and Wang–struggles or no earlier–is still the Yanks’ ace. Other must pick it up, and I’m curious to see whom the Yanks will use should Wang miss starts and/or land on the DL. Giese deserves a shot, to me. He’s been solid since being called up, and if Wang is on the DL, this would allow one of the kids like Melancon or Robertson to get a shot as a reliever.  Please, let it not be Igawa.

The offense was very impressive, cashing in on Astros’ miscues, getting lots of clutch hitting, and finally getting hitters to batter that power alley in left-center. A-Rod is as hot as a pistol, going 2-4 with 3 runs and 3 RBIs with his 12th homer, the 530th of his great career. He now has 37 RBIs in 50 games and is batting .326, helping to considerably lift the offense. JD continues to set a mean table, going 3-6 with a run to now bat .328. How crucial has Jorge’s return been? He was 2-2 with 3 walks and 3 RBI on his 3rd homer. He now has 17 RBIs and is hitting .318. Cano might be responding to the Tough Love, going 2-4 with the two fluke RBIs, getting three in all for 24 RBIs thus far this year and batting .225. Matsui continues his hot hitting, going 2-5 with his 13th double, his 34th RBI, and hitting .325 now. Jeter was 2-4 with a run and 2 RBIs, giving him 30 now, and he’s batting .273. Giambi was 1-2 with 2 runs and is batting .262 and while Melky was 0-5, his RBI force in the eighth was his 31st RBI this year. Though the Yanks stranded ten, four in scoring position, that’s something they and we can live with when they score 13 runs, get 15 hits and 7 walks, constantly threatening. Plus, the key for them was situational hitting, killing the Astros with two outs today.

The Yanks have a day off tomorrow before returning home for more interleague–sans pitchers and with the DH this time, thankfully. Not bad run production for lacking the DH, though, scoring 23 runs in sweeping the three-game set in Houston. Though the Yanks stayed six behind division-leading Boston who is playing well without Ortiz and today Ramirez, Tampa Bay’s loss brings them a game closer to the Yanks. Plus, the Yanks have two games in hand on Boston, and are five back in the loss column. Hopefully Wang’s MRI reveals no significant damage. Yet a sprain itself can be serious and require significant rest. It would be great if Wang only missed one start, but from the way he exited the field, the DL seems to be in his future. Keep your fingers crossed.

Published in: on June 15, 2008 at 7:22 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I hope it’s Giese for a few starts also. The problem is, Hughes and Kennedy are on the DL, and Karstens and Horne have just started rehab and have less than five starts each under them since coming back. Igawa…yuk, but the only option other than Giese?

    McCutchen had a CG shutout yesterday but needs more time at AAA (1-4, 3.62 since promoted to AAA). Marquez isn’t ready.

    At AA, Wright is on the DL. Jason Jones is a longshot, but Alfredo Aceves (4-1, 2.11 at A+, 1-2, 2.00 at AA) needs more AA/AAA experience. So you see the problem with a starter right now.

    Putting Giese in the rotation temporarily does open a spot for Robertson.

    If Wang is out for a significant period, a trade may have to be made, considering Hughes won’t be back until Late August, and Kennedy until after the All-Star break.

  2. Mike, excellent stuff in the minor-league situation as usual. Did you see Tiger birdie the 18th to force 18 playoff holes tomorrow, after nearly blowing it on the 13th? Incredible, only adding to his lore. He’ll need to rest that knee tonight. I hope Mediate brings his best tomorrow, for I’m sure Tiger will as well. Mediate has a lot of dignity, handling himself very well in the aftermath of this–a cool customer.

    I hope the Celtics clinch it tonight, but they’ll have to do it without Perkins who is out with the bum shoulder. KG, it’s your time.

  3. Yeah, saw it. Incredible.

    Started my temp. job today, so 8-5 at work. Takes about 35-40 min. to get to and from the job.

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