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August 3, 2006

The Wang Dynasty
by SG

The Yankees won their third consecutive game last night, trouncing the Blue Jays 7-2. the star of the game was unquestionably the fireballing right-hander from Tainan, Taiwan, Chien-Ming Wang.

Wang had some control issues early in the game, walking three in the second inning. A lot of that had to do with a tight strike zone, although home plate ump Bruce Dreckman was consistent with both pitchers and throughout the game. Wang had his best fastball of the season, sitting at 95-96 for much of the game and even reaching 98 on one pitch. The other adjustment that I noticed was that he was mixing in more off-speed pitches, which I think he was doing due to his struggles against Toronto the last time they faced him.

Wang pitched eight shutout innings, running his scoreless inning streak to 18 and lowering his ERA on the season to 3.58.

Here are some numbers on Wang (rank in the AL amongst starters who've pitched 90 innings or more in parenthesis).

Innings: 156 (2nd)
ERA+: 127 (9th)
Runs saved above average: 20 (6th)
Opponent OBP: .310 (15th)
Opponent SLG: .346 (3rd)
HR+: 231 (2nd, to Jaret Wright?????!!!)

Update: Here's the full list of AL pitchers who've pitched 90 innings or more ranked by Runs saved above average

To this point, Wang is one of the best pitchers in the AL. His K rate is historically low, and it still remains a source of concern going forward, but we now have 272 innings in the majors and a career ERA of 3.77 with a low K rate, and Wang keeps on keeping on. At some point he has to go from a fluke to an outlier.

I also think that there's never been a pitcher with a K rate as low as Wang who had the kind of dynamite stuff that he has. Stuff counts.

Wang continues to save the bullpen with his starts also, which has team value that's not reflected in his own stat line. That also counts. Right now, I think he's a legitimate number 2 starter, and a borderline number one.

This is pretty cool (well, I think it is at least). Wang's pitch chart from yesterday. Notice how only five pitches were above waist-level.

New Yanks Bobby Abreu and Craig Wilson both chipped in two hits, and Derek Jeter continues to just hit. Since July first, Jeter's hitting an amazing .413/.441/.587. He's on pace to end the season with 215 hits, 40 2B, 12 HR, 102 RBI, and 35 steals in 38 attempts. He's having an MVP caliber season on offense. Here are the AL leaders in offensive position-adjusted linear weights.

Jeter's right there, especially when you don't factor in defense. If he can get to 100 RBI and up the HRs a bit, he's going to get some votes. His HR last night was stung the other way to right-center, so the power is there.

If Eric Wedge wasn't a horse's ass, the Yankees would have picked up a game on Boston. Unfortunately, he is a horse's ass, and the Yankees did not pick up a game.

It's House Money Day™ and a day game today. Sean Marcum (1-0, 4.81) vs. Cory Lidle, making his Yankee debut, 1:05 PM ET.