Friday, April 11, 2008

Wang Dominant in Game 1

Chien-Ming Wang was in complete control the whole game, shutting down the Boston hitters allowing only 2 hits over 9 innings. Wang struck out 3 batters and didn't issue a single walk. He threw an economical 93 pitches, 61 of which were strikes.

One of those hits he did allow was a home run that just barely squeaked over the right field wall into the Boston bullpen and should have been caught by Bobby Abreu, who mistimed his jump. The other hit was a bunt in the 9th inning by Coco Crisp that Wang didn't quite field in time.

Clay Buchholz looked strong in his starting role, ultimately allowing 1 run on 4 hits over 6 innings. Clay walked 3 and struck out 3. His performance wasn't quite as economical as Wang. At the end of 6 Buchholz had thrown 98 pitches (58 strikes).

Boston's problems arose when Timlin came in in the 7th inning. Making his first major league appearance after being on the DL, Timlin gave up a home run, stand up double and a sacrifice bunt to the only three batters he faced.

David Cone, working the broadcast booth for YES, quipped one of his baseball maxims "When in doubt, hit it to the pitcher." This adequately summed up Timlin's handling of the sacrifice bunt. There was plenty of time to turn and throw out the runner advancing to 3rd, but Timlin instead threw to 1st for the easy out. When Okajima came a sacrifice fly easily scored the runner on third, a very preventable run.

Okajima finished off the 7th and Lopez got two outs in the 8th. David Aardsma finished off the last 1.1 innings of the game and gave up an additional run on 2 hits.

Bobby Abreu tried to make up for dropping the home run ball by hustling out a ground ball single and driving in a run. Too many players jog down the first base line and it's nice to see a good hustle pay off.

Jason Giambi hit a 3-2 pitch deep for his first home run of the season.  Molina, Matsui and Giambi all hit doubles and seven different Yankees got hits in the game. There were 9 runners left on base and the Yanks need to work on driving in more runners.

This game was all about Chien -Ming Wang. He pitched superbly, going the distance and giving the bullpen a night off. The Yanks will now have all of their relievers fresh for tomorrows game. While Buchholz pitched well, he went deep in too many counts and had to come out after 6 innings. Boston made a crucial mistake in going to the rusty Timlin too soon in a close game. Lopez and Aardsma were respectable but the damage was done.

Josh Beckett is starting for Boston in the next game, and the Sox need him to go at least 6 or 7 innings. If Beckett gets tired early, like he did in his first start Boston will have to rely on a tired bullpen. Who knows which Mussina will show up to pitch but having a rested bullpen gives the Bombers the advantage in game 2.

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