This game wasn’t close. The Yanks combined the long ball with an overpowering performance by Chien-Ming Wang to take the rubber game of the Subway Series 8–2.
A-Rod’s first-inning home run was another tape-measure job. This one didn’t travel quite as far as yesterday’s, but it was still a sight to behold. Wang struck out a career high 10, and was lifted one out shy of a complete game.
Long after the game was decided, in the bottom of the eighth inning, something notable happened. A-Rod led off the inning against Aaron Heilman, he had two strikes on him and Heilman threw a low change-up. A-Rod barely made contact, fouling it off and looked bad on the pitch. Heilman followed up the change with another change. A-Rod was sitting on it, and hit a laser to the wall in left-center for a double. Jorge Posada was up next. Posada swung at a one-strike change and looked bad doing it. Heilman backed up that change with another one, and again, Posada was waiting for it. He hooked it into the seats in right field.
The way both hitters aproached the second consecutive change-up tells me they had a book on Heilman. It’s usually pretty rare for a pitcher to use his change back-to-back, because the effectiveness is in the different look it gives, the change of pace. When you get a hitter to miss badly on a change, you’ve put the thought in his mind, and the fast ball looks that much faster. A-Rod and Posada knew he was going to come back with another change, score one for advanced scouting. Both pitches were in good locations, but when you know a change is coming, it’s just a BP fastball. Heilman needs to keep an eye on his patterns.
Player of the Game: Chien-Ming Wang, 8.2 innings, 2 earned, 6 hits, 1 walk, 10 Ks. (The first “earned” run scored when David Wright reached first on a dropped third strike. Shouldn’t that run be unearned? I realize the rules say no, but I say definitely.)