clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

AJ, Wang and Chemistry

Either file this one under: "I can't believe I'm writing this" or "uselessly hopeful homerism."  I can't decide which.

This tidbit comes via LoHud:

A.J. Burnett is an interesting cat. He downloaded the WordPower application to his iPhone and is learning words and phrases in Chinese so he can talk to Wang in is native tongue.

Before the game, A.J. was trying out his Chinese on Wang, making the pitcher (and the Taiwanese media) laugh. Trust me when I tell you, Wang needed to laugh. This last week has been trying for him.

In general, I don't believe in chemistry.  I think that most of it is overblown hyperbole from the media to make a simple story like "Team A is better than Team B" more compelling by playing up the human angle.

But I don't deny that there is a human angle to sports, especially baseball.  To pitch, hit, or field at the major league level (I believe) requires a unique unity of mental focus and physical precision.  Take away one, and the player begins to tell the Chuck Knoblauch story.  The physical problems could be a temporary fix, or a permanent decline.

I can't rule out any of those 3 problems.  Wang's head might not be in the right place, or his mechanics may be off, or he may not have fully healed from his injury, or he may be unconsciously favoring the rehabbed foot.

Whichever way it goes, the Yanks are counting on Wang and the rest of the pitching staff to be too deep for the rest of the AL.  They need CMW as the #3 starter for that championship length and to cover up the team's offensive shortcomings.  So expect his 100 pitch performance tomorrow to be the most closely followed Yankee extended spring training game in quite a while.

My prediction is that Wang hits the DL.  After a couple weeks of strengthening his foot while re-acquiring his feel for his push-off and delivery.  The velocity returns and rejoins the team in May.

But we can hope that Wang's struggles are mental, and he just needs to laugh it off and get back out there.  And then he can throw the 40 consecutive scoreless innings he needs to get his ERA back under 5.