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June 14, 2006

Chien-Ming Wang: June 13th
by SG

When the two highest scoring teams in the AL got together last night, the last thing I expected was a 1-0 pitching duel. However, Chien-Ming Wang followed up a good outing against Boston last time out with an even better outing, hurling 7.1 shutout innings. Wang faced 27 batters and got 14 of them to ground out, walking just one and striking out three.

I didn't get to watch last night's Yankee game since it was not on MLB's Extra Innings package, so I can't give any of my visual observations of the game. However, based on what I heard on the radio and what other people mentioned, as well as the fact that he shut down a team that came into the game with a league-leading OPS+ of 120, it's pretty safe for me to conclude that he pitched damn well. He even hit 96 a few times according to the radio broadcast.

Wang is tenth in the league in innings pitched now, which is a boon to a beleaguered and overused Yankee bullpen. He continues to succeed despite a very low K rate. His K+ (park-adjusted strikeouts per batters faced compared to league average) is 55, which is lower than all but four pitchers who have thrown 50 innings this season.

The good news is his HR+ rate of 280, which is third amongst that same group of pitchers. He's also displayed better than average control to this point with his BB+ of 128.

Wang's been the third most valuable pitcher to the Yankees this season in terms of runs prevented above average, trailing just Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera with his 10.4 runs saved above average.

Speaking of Rivera, it appears that any concerns about him have been mitigated, huh? He pitched around an Andy Phillips error in the ninth, striking out two while cutting through the 3-6 hitters on the Indians. He supposedly hit 96 on his last pitch as well.

Robinson Cano also seems to have remembered how to hit for power lately, which I have been a little concerned about. After his slugging bottomed out to .383 on May 31, Cano has been on fire in June.

On May 31, Cano was hitting .293/.318/.383, "good" for an OPS of .701.

Since then, he's hitting .444/.457/.667 for an OPS of 1.123, which has raised his season line to .322/.344/.438. The hot streak has boosted him up to 4.8 runs above the average 2B, which is the third best total in the AL (behind Mark DeRosa and Ian Kinsler of the Rangers).

In other good news, Phil Hughes dominated in his start last night, and Fabian has a nice thorough writeup about it below.

Today, the Yankees send out Kevin Brown The Big Useless to try and stop sucking. His old friend Eduardo Perez has to be licking his chops at the four HRs he's going to hit.