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Tag: MLB Network

Yankee Panky: Expert Texpert Choking Smoker …

The talk over the past four days of the World Series has been starting pitching, or rather, the managers’ decisions on who to take the hill. For Game 4, Charlie Manuel was excoriated for selecting Joe Blanton over Cliff Lee on short rest. When the Yankees took the 3-1 lead, the Philly media all but blamed Manuel, seemingly forgetting that Blanton pitched well enough to win, and save for a Brad Lidge meltdown, the series might have been tied at that point.

At the same time, the choice of Joe Girardi to start AJ Burnett was being put under the microscope, run through a centrifuge, and measured by any other number of scientific devices. “Why start Burnett on short rest?” The experts on MLB Network claimed. “With the lineup shaking out, Melky Cabrera being out, Jose Molina catching, this favors the Phillies,” to paraphrase Harold Reynolds. “Chad Gaudin can give five innings and then make it a bullpen game,” said Mitch Williams.

Tim McCarver, pleasantly old school, lauded Girardi’s choice to stick with three starters.

The most sane MLBN analysis came from Dan Plesac, who noted that the Yankees didn’t have a fourth starter as an option due to the way they (mis)handled Joba Chamberlain during the second half of the regular season. Thus, Girardi’s options were limited.


What’s Wang?

In the comments to Alex’s post on Chien-Ming Wang below, reader “cult of baseball” brought my attention to this outstanding video analysis by the MLB Network’s Dan Plesac.

According to Plesac, Wang’s balance is all off. When he lifts his left leg to deliver the ball, he’s not lifting the leg nearly as high as he had a year ago, he’s bent at the waist, whereas last year he was standing straight up, and his hands are both lower and farther away from his body. There’s been a lot of talk about Wang not getting on top of his pitches, particularly his signature sinker, thus leaving them up in the zone. Plesac’s analysis shows why that might be the case.

Plesac then takes that a step further and suggests that because Wang is putting all of his weight on the right foot he broke last June when he lifts his left leg, his poor posture in that position could be a sign that the foot isn’t fully healed. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it could be a bad habit he picked up during his rehab process borne out of a fear of placing too much stress on the foot. If that’s the case, the root of the mechanical flaw is mental, which is another theory that’s been bandied about of late.

Whatever the problem is, the Yankees need to fix it, either by fixing Wang or removing him from the rotation. The Yanks are 7-3 in games Wang hasn’t started, which is a great start, particularly given the injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Xavier Nady (and to a far lesser degree Mark Teixeira), poor performance from Hideki Matsui and Cody Ransom, and the erratic performances of the middle relievers.


A Tough Act To Follow

The MLB Network launches this evening at 6pm (EST) and will celebrate by airing the unedited original broadcast of Don Larson’s perfect game (including original commercials!) at 7pm, the first time it has been shown to a mass audience since it happened 52 years ago. You can find the new network’s location in your channel lineup by using MLB’s channel locator here. Unfortunately, my TV has been on the fritz for a couple of days, so I’ll miss the whole shebang. Someone watch it and let me know what happens, will ya?


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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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