Pitcher’s Duel Moves To Bullpen

July 5, 2009 – 11:41 am

NYY 6, Toronto 5. Another pitcher’s duel, only this time the duel didn’t start until both teams had gone to their bullpens. Roy Halladay looked rather pedestrian — perhaps a result of this being only his second start since coming off the DL. On the other hand, once again Chien-Ming Wang showed signs of being the old Wanger — until something went wrong in his shoulder, which apparently was the explanation for giving up the 2-run homer to Adam Lind? So now Wang is back on the DL, which means that he will be even more of a question mark when he returns. You really have to feel for the guy — nothing’s gone right for him since he went out last year with the foot injury. Hopefully someday he will be back in pre-2008 form — but if I’m Brian Cashman right now, I’m not planning on that happening anytime this year.

Fortunately the Yankee bullpen was able to pick up where A.J. Burnett left off yesterday, holding the Blue Jays to just 1 run on 4 hits over the last 6.2 innings. And the Toronto bullpen was pretty much matching up with them until Jorge Posada hit the game-winning home run in the 12th.  What with the Yankee pitching of late with Jorge behind the plate, and his clutch hitting, I guess the Posada-bashers have pretty much scurried back under the rocks from which they came!

Jorge’s home run bailed out Robinson Cano in one of the weirdest plays I’ve seen in a long time — that being Cano’s bunting on a 3-0 pitch. Supposedly he just missed a sign — and one would like to think that was in fact a “take” sign — but what in the world was going through Robbie’s head to make that mistake? He’s been struggling of late with runners in scoring positon — going in to that AB he was 0-for-his-last-19 hitting with RISP, and 0-for-3 for the day. In fact, his season BA/RISP is now all the way down to .198 (while he is still hitting .300 overall). Now I do tend to agree with Girardi’s assessment of Cano’s problem in that a lot of it is just bad luck. I’ve always maintained that BA/RISP is an over-exaggerated statistic, as over the long term most batters tend to hit the same with RISP as they do overall (to wit, right now the league average BA is .264 and BA/RISP is .266). But for whatever the reason, right now Cano is a liability in the No. 5 slot in the order, and until he can get things straightened out Girardi almost has to move him down.

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