Wang was awful. He couldn't locate any of his pitches as we saw when he hit the first batter with one. With two outs and nobody on after getting a ground ball double play, he HAS to get out of that inning with the Yanks still leading 1-0. That was disappointing. He'll never be considered a true # 1 until he can gather himself when he doesn't have his good stuff and get through a tough situation in a big game.
The Yanks worked C.C. perfectly, (Sabathia threw 115 pitches and walked six batters in five innings) but leave two men on in the first and the bases loaded and one out in the fifth and deciding inning. Their game plan was perfect except for one thing. They couldn't get that one hit which opened the game up.
Torre sensed the fifth inning was crucial and he made a great move in sending up Shelley Duncan to pinch hit for Manky. I thought it was because of Doug's early ankle injury initially, but that wasn't the case. His move worked as Shelley had a great AB and singled to right to start the inning.
I love Posada, but I don't think I've ever seen him swing at a 3-0 pitch. Most hitters get impatient and swing at ball four when they get the green light. Jorge did swing at a strike, but he chased the high heat after that (Bruce Froemming had a small strike zone) and struck out when the Yanks cut a 4-1 deficit to 4-3 and had Sabathia on the ropes. It disrupted his rhythm completely as he waved through the next two pitches. I understand Torre's logic, he figures Sabathia was wild and he'll groove a 92 mph fastball right down the middle and Posada, who has been magnificent at the plate would crush it. C.C. did do that, but it was 95 mph and Jorge missed it. He has to take that pitch and force Sabathia to make another one and another one. That was the key to the game. If the Yanks tie the score or take the lead maybe it gives Chien a boost to get him through the next inning. We saw the momentum swing to Cleveland as soon as C.C. got out of trouble. They immediately score five runs to put the game away and force Wang to the showers after 4 2/3's.
Matsui continues his long, long struggle at the plate and popped up to short to end the threat. He also grounded weakly to second in the first to end that inning too. I probably wouldn't be talking about Jorge's AB if Hideki had come through and picked his teammate up.
I didn't like seeing Phil Hughes pitch in this game because I held onto to the hope that Torre would start him over Mussina if there's a game four, but as many PAers said in the game comment thread, there's still plenty of days off for Joe to use him. Knowing Joe's tendency to go with experience, I highly doubt it.
Is this going to be another early exist from round one? The Yanks always seem to struggle when they have a day off so I think we'll see a much better team tonight. Andy Pettitte is no stranger to the playoffs and I'll have my cigar ready to go.