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Today's win over the Rays was a great example of how much Chien-Ming Wang has grown over the last season as a pitcher. Last year, due to an injury to his finger nail, Wang had to rely on his slider and change more. He learned to mix his pitches. On a day like today, when his sinker isn't as devastating as he's used to, he can pitch his way through it and still dominate.

Wang used his full arsenal today, he faced 24 batters and the distribution below depicts how the batters fared in trying to lift the ball:

  • 9 ground balls
  • 2 fly balls
  • 5 line drives
  • 6 Ks
  • 2 walks
In his two starts, Wang has delivered exactly what the Yanks (and their bullpen) needed. He's off to a 2-0 start and both times he got the ball directly to Joba, with a lead. Today, Joba had his work cut out for him, however. Girardi (returned from the infirmary) called on Joba with men on first and third and no one out in the top of the seventh. It took Joba 8 pitches to get out of the inning, he didn't allow the runner from third to score. From there, Joba and Mo combined to throw 20 pitches over the final two innings and set the Rays down in order to seal the victory.

Godzilla provided all the offense the Yanks would get on one swing of the bat, a two-run bomb off Rays' starter James Shields. Yesterday at the game I was openly questioning Matsui. He just looked old, and two days in the outfield made him look that much older. Today, he posted three hits, proving me wrong yet again.

There is one negative I'd like to talk about. Robinson Cano has the ability to be a gold glove second baseman. He makes so many spectacular plays and probably has the strongest arm of any second baseman in the league. He makes the difficult plays look so easy. Case in point, the double play he turned in the 7th inning today. He speared a line drive up the middle, twisted his body and fired to first for the double play. No other second baseman makes that play. Over the past two games, however, he's made two errors on extremely easy plays. The first, when he nonchalantly went after a slow grounder and booted it, and then today when he tried to barehand a throw from Jeter to turn a double play that he never had a chance to turn. His concentration needs to be more consistent. There's no excuse for those two errors.

Melky was a sight for sore eyes in his first game back from suspension. He finished 1 for 3, and did a good job of working the count.

Tomorrow the Yanks will try to salvage a split of the series. Mike Mussina vs. Jason Hammel.

Player of The Game: Wang/Matsui
Team Record: 3-3
Damon's Broken Bats: 2 today (7 on the season, in 6 games)

by Brian on Apr 6 2008
Tags: Chien-Ming Wang | Hideki Matsui | Rays |