Friday, September 30, 2005

Wang loses duel to Wells....

Wang pitched gallantly against the Red Sox, giving up only 4 hits in 6 2/3 innings pitched. However, due to uncharacteristic wildness which was not helped by a tight stike zone called by the home plate umpire, Wang also walked 6 hitters - 1 of which was intentional, but also one costly walk which forced in a run with the bases loaded. Of the 5 runs given up by Wang, only 3 of the runs were earned; Jason Giambi's erroneous throw to home in the 6th inning led to 2 unearned runs.

Through the first 5 innings, Wang pitched an efficient game. Aside from a first inning RBI single by AL MVP candidate David Ortiz and a leadoff solo blast by Jason Varitek in the 2nd inning, Wang had his sinking fastball working for him, getting almost all of his outs via the ground ball and with a good fastball - K'ing Manny Ramirez, Trot Nixon, and Jason Varitek. The ESPN radar gun had Wang clocked consistenly around 93 to 94 mph. Television viewers in Boston and New York reported that Wang was clocked at 97 to 98 mph via the local radar gun.

Things went a little haywire for Wang in the 6th inning. After a leadoff single by Damon, Wang got the first out of the inning by K'ing Renteria on a 92 mph fastball. Damon stole second base, which forced Torre to have Wang intentionally walk Big Papi. Manny Ramirez then sharply singled to left field, to load the bases. The next batter, Trot Nixon was walked with the bases loaded to force in Boston's third run. With the bases loaded and only one out, Wang got what he was looking for from Jason Varitek, a ground ball to first basemen Jason Giambi. However, Giambi muffed the throw to home in a force attempt, which allowed David Ortiz to score Boston's fourth run. Olerud then hit a sac-fly to center field to score Boston's fifth and final run. Wang finally got out of the inning when Giambi made a nice play at first when he snagged Bill Mueller's sharply hit ground ball. Final result of the disasterous 6th inning: 2 hits, 2 walks, 1 error, and 3 runs given up.

Despite the tough inning, Joe Torre decided to let Wang start one more inning. In the 7th, after getting 2 groundball outs, Wang walked his 6th and final batter and was pulled. Wang was still throwing hard, clocked at 93 to 94 mph in his last pitching frame.

Overall I'd give Wang a B based on his performance tonight. Facing the vaunted offense of the defending champs, Wang for the most part shut them down, only giving up 4 hits and 3 earned runs in 6 and 2/3 innings. Playing in a hostile environment with playoff implications, Wang, despite his wildness, pitched well enough to keep the Yanks in the game. Games like this are invaluable to Wang's pitching growth.

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