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May 24, 2006

Wrong about Wright?
by SG

Jaret Wright still stinks -some moron, back in March.

After Jaret Wright's first five innings of the season, he sported a bloated 7.20 ERA. In his subsequent 27.3 innings, Wright has been far more effective, pitching to an ERA of 3.62. Wright was the main hero of last night's tense 7-5 victory, pitching five shutout innings before leaving with what was described as a tweaking of the groin.

Joe Torre's attempts to rebuild the '96 Yankees bullpen failed again, as Scott Proctor was lousy and gave back 4 runs in what was at that time a 7-1 lead. Proctor's command was awful, as he missed Jorge Posada's target repeatedly throughtout his 1.1 innings of work. While I still like Proctor and think he can be a useful low leverage reliever, this outing was a good reminder that he's still far from a sure thing.

Kyle Farnsworth also struggled with his command after relieving Proctor, although he made Doug Mirabelli look foolish on three straight sliders to close out the seventh. In the bottom of the eighth, Farnsworth fanned Dustan Mohr but then chose to walk Kevin Youkilis and Mark Loretta, since bringing David Ortiz to the plate as the tying run is always smart. Torre went to Mo, like he has so many times over the years, and Mo retired Ortiz before giving up a single to Manny Ramirez that made the score 7-5. Rivera then got Nixon to foul out to the unclutch Alex Rodriguez, whose HR in a blowout turned out to be the margin of victory.

Back to Wright, while I've been happy with the results, the peripherals warn me to not get too excited. Over his last 27.3 innings, Wright's FIP is 4.99. He's walked 11 and given up 3 HRs while striking out just 13, and is throwing 58% of his pitches for strikes. Wright as a fifth starter is fine if he continues to perform at this level, but there are indicators that he's been pitching over his head so far. One good thing is that his velocity has been outstanding of late, as he reached 96 a few times last night and worked in the 93-94 range very consistently. Even with that, he seemed to get pretty hard last night despite the results, with the good fortune of the balls finding fielders most of the time.

The Yankees did what I thought they needed to do last night by avoiding getting swept. Now, the worst thing that can happen is they leave Boston down by 2.5 games, with 118 to play. I think that I would rather see the Yankees lose a 2-1 game today with Randy Johnson pitching well than win a 12-10 game where Johnson gets shelled. If they don't get Johnson right, it's going to be a long season.

I'm thinking of adding a Terrence Long watch to replace the March to 1000 runs, but I fear it's going to aggravate me too much. Long playing over Melky last night was really annoying. Tim Wakefield could be on Boston for the next ten years. Shouldn't Cabrera get a chance to see him if he's going to be a part of the Yankees' future plans?