Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Yankees 7, Mariners 4

Before I get into the game, let me just point out that I posted the idea of sending Giambi to the minors hours before the Torre-Cashman discussions on the subject were held. Yes, Giambi has to approve of such a move, but he believes that being with the major league team and working with Don Mattingly is the best route. So basically what he’s saying is that he can’t humble himself and accept this assignment where he’ll surely get more swings in game situations than he’s currently getting (why would Joe ever start this guy?). The lesson here: never sign – for any amount of money – a steroid taking head case, no matter what kind of numbers he puts up. That’ll all catch up to him sooner or later.

On to the game, and I’ll begin with a question: Jaret Who? Wright going on the DL may prove to be a boon for this season, as it allowed Chein-Ming Wang to make his major league debut. I know he’s young and only three starts deep into his career, but I like what I see so far from the Taiwanese youngster. He throws strikes, and his pitches have some decent movement to them. A little work with Mel Stottlemyre (well, if he makes it through the season) and this guy could have a bright future. Too bad it will probably be with another club, as we all know the Yankees tendency to trade prospects for geezers.

But Wang, despite a leadoff triple to Ichiro and two runs allowed in the first two innings, really settled down and kept the Mariners guessing all night until the eighth inning, when he found himself in a bit of trouble. Don’t worry, Flash Gordon to the rescue! Oh wait, that was LAST year. Opposing hitters are smacking around the aging Mr. Gordon this year, though his numbers don’t quite explain how terrible he is. Opponents are hitting .263 against him, and he has allowed eight runs over 15 innings. Of course, this doesn’t account for inherited runners scoring, which I think should certainly be a more relied upon reliever’s statistic.

But thank God for Mariano Rivera. Yankees fans through the tri-state area were calling for his head after two straight blown saves against Boston, and we were in full panic mode when his slump continued. Alas, this is Mo we’re talking about here, and in traditional Mo fashion, he has been mowing down opponents, nabbing two saves in the past week while striking out five in four innings of work. The only blemish on his record was Friday’s game against the A’s, in which he pitched a gem of a ninth, but faltered in the 10th. Conclusion: use Mo like Gagne, for one inning to ice a close game. He’s 35 and can’t work multiple innings like he used to.

I’m not going to make as big a deal about Tino’s home run streak as the local papers do, but I will share an amusing anecdote. I was watching the game last night with one of my roommates, enjoying a few brews in celebration of being done with college. Another roommate of ours, Dave, walks in with a cute little Italian girl and blurts out, “Bet you Tino homers in this at bat.” And waddya know, Tino took the next pitch over his favorite spot in the park: the short right field deck. I still maintain that this is more production that I expected from Tino all season.

As a final game note, I’d just like to ask what the [expletive] Robinson Cano was thinking in the third when Jeter dinked an infield single. Cano was going with the pitch (a great move, since Jete had two strikes on him with two outs. I’d trade the inning for Jeter getting a fresh count in the case that Cano gets caught stealing), and didn’t slide into second on a ball hit to the infield. Yes, I realize that there are two outs, and you’re supposed to go on anything, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon all baserunning knowledge. Or did he forget that the only base you can overrun is first? Regardless, he was toast before Beltre fired the ball towards Ichiro. An assessment after a week of Cano in the lineup: he looks like a deer in headlights.