One last shot for Wang

wang_250.jpgJust after our pregame pop, AJ and Wang walked into the dugout together. Wang was smiling and carrying a large cup of peanuts. He knows Wednesday is his last chance to show he should stay in the rotation; before Girardi told the media that, he told it to Wang.

So begins a life-altering six-day stretch for Wang, whose wife will have labor induced Tuesday, if necessary. They are expecting their first child, a son.

And then Wang will start the following night against the Nationals, a team that struggles mightily but can put runs on the board, to prove he still has it.

Given that some Yankees coaches and players are convinced Wang’s troubles stem from waning — or completely shot — confidence, it sets up this dynamic: He will take the mound knowing he has to perform but not necessarily believing he can perform.

As for what’s next if Wang doesn’t perform, it’s probably back to the bullpen, given he has no options left. Unless he winds up on the DL again.

“One of the nicest guys”:
For what it’s worth, and that might be a lot, Wang has plenty of support among his teammates. Cano tells us that Wang is “a great guy, one of the nicest guys in this room,” meaning the visiting mini-clubhouse at Fenway. “I always tell him to keep his head up, but that’s hard to do when you’re not the player you expect yourself to be.”

Over the next few days, Mariano will seek out Wang for a heart-to-heart. It might not be a long conversation, but Mariano is putting thought into what he will say. Mariano will express to Wang, as he did to us, that “I expect him to turn it around, and that I want the best for him.”

His teammates can impart wisdom and faith, but it will ultimately be up to Wang to take the mound with the confidence of years past. At this point, he has no choice.

Tiger tale: Bruney, who will make a rehab appearance Saturday and could return Tuesday, currently has custody of the Tiger Woods figurine, having defeated Gardner in their regular Tiger Woods video game battles. “Now she’s going to blog that,” Gardner told Bruney and other teammates. Thanks for reading, Brett!

Good stuff:
CC will visit with 8th-graders tomorrow at Elizabeth Barrett Browning Middle School in the Bronx. The school made dramatic improvement in NY state exams, and this is a reward. CC will take questions from the 170 students. No doubt he’s hoping one of them is, “How did you beat the Red Sox last night?”

And Gardner will return to NY-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital to reunite with 18-year-old heart transplant recipient Alyssa. When the two met May 15 at a hospital event, Alyssa gave Gardner a bracelet and told him he would hit a home run as long as he kept it. Hours later, he hit an inside-the-park home run. And Alyssa, who had been waiting 107 days for her transplant, received a lifesaving heart transplant the next day.

Is it June 11?
Really? It’s cold again here in Boston. Kay just asked Anita the Stage Manager for a hot tea with two Sweet ‘N Lows. “I don’t make talent mix their own drinks,” Anita said, explaining why Kay receives the tea already sweetened.

Kay will order another tea or two before the game ends. He had pizza before the game; two full slices, not just the cheese.

We also had pizza, some salad, diet coke.

Flaherty is drinking coffee “with a little bit of milk,” Anita reports. “And Kenny has hot tea.” No Sweet ‘N Low? “Nothing,” Anita shrugs. “Straight up.”

Kenny just ordered tea with Sweet ‘N Low. Maybe Kay is rubbing off on him. Anita is appropriately shocked.

“This is the first time in three days,” she says.

Coming up:
There’s been scarcely any Subway Series talk in the visiting clubhouse, given that most of the attention has been on the Red Sox series. But tomorrow should be fun. If it’s 80 degrees, it’ll be even more fun. Maybe Tino will be in town!

16 Comments

With all the tea being consumed, it MUST be like 50 degrees up there! If the Yankees come home after being swept by Boston again, I don’t think there will be much talk about anything. Wang is still a very good pitcher but the team MUST do what’s best for the team FIRST, and Wang second. I still expect Wang to rebound this season but no matter what he does, his numbers will NOT look good come October 1st. If he decides to go 4-0 with a sub 3 ERA in the 3 rounds of the playoffs, I’d accept that though. :-)

YOU HAVE TO LOVE THE RESPECT THE YANKEES SHOW FOR THE LIKES OF WANG, WHO ELSE IN OUR ROTATION HAD BACK TO BACK 19 WIN SEASONS AND STARTED ANOTHER 8-2 (BEFORE HAVING TO RUN BASES). NOW HE HEARS THIS IS NOT AN INSTRUCTIONAL LEAGUE. PITCH PERFECT OR GET OUT. MEANWHILE IF THEY WOULD HAVE JUST LET HIM PITCH THRU (WITH OUT THE FAKE INJURY) HE’D BE ALL STRAIGHT BY NOW. SAME THING HAPPEN WITH MOOSE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. TOOK HIM OUT OF THE ROTATION (DONE THEY SAID) TOO OLD. THE NEXT YEAR HE WINS 20. THE YANKEES ARE STUBBORN TO A FAULT. THEY MAKE MISTAKES AND THEN SPITE THEMSELVES SO THEY DONT HAVE TO ADMIT THEY’RE WRONG. GIRARDI DISRESPECTED MARIANO (H.O.F. TO BE) A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO. DISRESPECTED PETITTE BY THINKING HE CAN’T PITCH IN BOSTON (HOW’D THAT WORK OUT WITH BURNETT). THE YANKEES HAVE SELECTIVE MEMORIES ABOUT WHO MADE THEM WHO THEY ARE. THAT BEING SAID – A-ROID DISRESPECTS THE YANKEES UNIFORM REPEATEDLY (CHEATING ON WIFE, CHEATING ON BASEBALL, BUSH LEAGUE PLAY ETC….) AND HE’S TREATED LIKE A KING BY THE ORGANIZATION. HE’S HITTING WHAT 240?? WHEN DOES HE GET HIS ULTIMATUM. SOMETIMES IT’S JUST EMBARRASSING TO BE A YANKEE FAN.

Hi Kim,

We enjoy your reporting and hope to see you soon. Not sure if you remember but I worked with you back at Toftrees. We’ll be at the Marlins/Yankees game in Miami. Try and look us up. Keep up the great work!

Michelle from Toftrees
now in the Florida Keys and still Yankees fans

Perhaps they should have let Wang continue to his next rehab game in Pawtucket instead of yanking him back when Joba was hit on the knee (Hughes couldn’t have started, or Aceves instead?), thus limiting their options and rushing his recovery. Girardi should never have pitched him in the high pressure Boston series. And now, a day after his wife is due to give birth to their first child, which will certainly shake him up, they tell him pitch perfectly or you’re out. They couldn’t do a better job if they were intentionally trying to destroy this guy. At the very least, bring up Ron Guidry, with whom Wang flourished when Gator was pitching coach, since Eiland has already admitted that he has no idea what to do. This is a very sad story and Yankee management is completely clueless and misguided, and cruel.

I like Wang and all but is it time to trade him possibly while his value is still worth something? Maybe get a high Double-A prospect from somebody?

I know we want to give him chances but I don’t see how he’ll fit in rotation unless as the fifth starter if Petite is not returning by next year.

Wang no doubt has a lot on his mind. I can only hope he turns it around.
Great post, I will be at the game on Saturday. My daughter who has the same B’Day as Mariano will be coming and is already hoping her favorite player Jeter will hit a home run. She is is almost three and is as much of a NYY fan as her parents.

Hi Kim,
As an intermediary between the fans and the team, can you do us a favor and get a concrete answer from Joe as to why he refuses to use the best reliever of all time unless he can finish the game?
Bases loaded in a one run game with no outs is likely the most important situation the game will come to, but no Mariano because he needs to be used in the ninth? Come on. Joe saying that he would use Mo for 4 or five outs is ridiculous, too, and deserves more follow up questioning. Why not use him for 3 outs in the eighth and one in the ninth if that is your rule.
We were told that Joe would bring unconventional decisions and a tough mentality to our team, and we are still waiting.

Hi Kim,
As an intermediary between the fans and the team, can you do us a favor and get a concrete answer from Joe as to why he refuses to use the best reliever of all time unless he can finish the game?
Bases loaded in a one run game with no outs is likely the most important situation the game will come to, but no Mariano because he needs to be used in the ninth? Come on. Joe saying that he would use Mo for 4 or five outs is ridiculous, too, and deserves more follow up questioning. Why not use him for 3 outs in the eighth and one in the ninth if that is your rule.
We were told that Joe would bring unconventional decisions and a tough mentality to our team, and we are still waiting.

Well….once again last night we were witness to the FACT that the Yanks have no answer in the bullpen to an 8th inning challenge. The Yanks had the lead…Girardi felt that he was better off staying with Sabathia…Boston got the KEY hit.

Now…if Joba were the stop gap..eith inning guy, we wouldn’t have seen CC in the game in the 8th at all. Joba would have come in….FRESH….and likely shut them down. Enter Mo in the 9th, and the Yanks PROBABLY win that game. (Considering past performances)

But we don’t have Joba in the 8th, and in fact, the Yanks have NO ONE they can count on in that role. Now, will Bruney be that guy when he comes back? Maybe…if he doesn’t blow out his elbow again. But how realistic is it to count on Bruney being what he was before that injury?

This is just ANOTHER game lost that the Yanks should have won this year due to no 8th inning guy. What was highlighted AGAIN last night…as if we need reminding…is that the Red Sox bullpen is very good. Much better than our own. What they have that we don’t is 2…yes 2…8th inning bridges to Pappelbon…Saito, and Okijima, and that’s not even touching on Delcarmen. The Yanks have nothing close to matching that firepower, and won’t have until they come to their senses and make the right move and put JOBA in the pen.

As for Wang? Well, the Yanks need to take him out of action. If he has a confidence problem, then putting him out there to get bombed all the time certainly isn’t going to help it. Obviously he has a mechanical issue…probably one that relates to his injured foot…and that needs to be worked through before he can be the pitcher he used to be. They can’t send him down because he’s out of options, so they’re going to have to DL him. Send him to Tampa, break it all down and start from scratch. Throwing him in the pen won’t do squat except make him feel like MORE of a loser. We don’t need to make a bad situation worse. And besides, when in the world would Girardi call on him? In a blowout game? Well how often have they come around this year?

Joe….get with Cashame and get Joba in the PEN!! We can’t afford to lose any more games like we did last night. Enough is enough. If you want to catch Boston, this is the way.

I don’t like how they are working with Wang. They bring him back early, stick him in the bullpen, then give him a few shots to prove he’s ready. This team is not in 3rd or 4th place and under .500. They don’t have to play the Red Sox until August, so they will at least win some series coming up. Wang just needs to pitch every 5 days and he will figure it out. At minimum he needs another 3 starts to see where he stands. Hughes has options to go to the minors. He can be ready if they need a 6th starter. If they put Wang in the bullpen, then you won’t have anybody ready to pitch more than 4 innnings if you need that 6th starter.

Glad to hear Wang has the support in the clubhouse. I’m sure he will hear the same from the fans on Wednesday. If he falters, I’m hopeful he’d accept a stint in the minors; see Cliff Lee in 2007. He could end up being gas in the tank and money in the bank come late July/August.

Why is Melky batting at the end of the line up ? One of the few Yankees hitting every game and /Gerardi keeps him buried at the end ? Gerardi needs to send Gardner packing , he has NO arm and can’t judge fly balls very well !
The Steinbrenners need to take a long look at Gerardi also , he told a different story about his trip to the mound in the last Boston game then CC told !! I think Gerardi wasn’t being truthful and CC was !! Also , trade Swisher , he’s made too many errors for one lifetime already !!’
Totally disgusted !!

H Kim,
A couple weeks ago, I remember watching the announcers and some of the Yankees being interviewed, and being asked if they felt like this was a ?special? team this year. Everyone was agreeing ?yes?. Pies were being smeared into faces. Joking, *** grabbing etc. After the last two series?this is not a special team yet. But it is need of some special help. We are seeing this far too often for a Yankee team: 1. Jeter. The ?Captain? of the team. He is hitting ok. Every once in a while he is ok in the clutch. But more than not, when he gets up to the plate you are waiting for him to hit that pop-up or hit into the double play. I don?t get it. 2. Damon. He is hitting ?ok? but not clutch. He looks like a 9 year old boy in a little league game every time the ball is hit towards him in left field. No confidence. 3. Teixeira. Right now, bar none, the best player on the team. Enough said. 4. A-Rod. What in the mammoth is wrong with him?? He gets up to the plate and you just wait for him to get out. Get it over with. 5. Swisher. Like a wedding in Vegas. Started out awesome, and then it got bad fast. 50/50 hitting. Has looked like a ***-clown lately in the outfield. And screwing up on the bases the last couple games?? Those are small things that lose games. Pitchers: A.J. Burnett. He has pitched like Helen Keller 95% of the time he has taken the mound. What is his problem? He hasn?t been throwing pies lately has he. He?s thrown a 6-year-old temper tantrum in Boston when he sucked his way off the mound. Wang. Why he is still with the team and not down in AAA I don?t know. He sucks. How long is Girardi going to keep saying that he is making progress and coming along? Something in his head needs tweaking, and I am talking about Wang. Its not pitching in AAA getting better. It?s a mental thing. Throwing him in against Boston was retarted. Everyone knew he wasn?t going to pitch well. Did we want to win the game or not. Yes??? He shouldn?t have started. No?? Start Wang. We want to win right? That?s the intent of every game. You can’t keep saying “but he was 19-1 the last two seasons. This season is what is important. and this season isn’t working for Wang. Joba. Needs to be a reliever. Bottom line. Pull Wang, insert Hughes. Joba in the bullpen as a reliever. Girardi is acting too optimistic as a manager right now. Yes we are going to lose games. Yes we need to get over a loss and look to the next game. But when we lose to Boston 8 games to none, he just acts like it was a normal loss and ?we look forward to meeting them again?. Wrong answer! I was really hoping he would be alright as a manager. I am seeing now that this will probably be his last year if they don?t make it to the post season. He knows that. 13 years. We went 13 years in a row making the post season until?.2008. Common denominator?Girardi. He is too much like a buddy than a manager. Its obvious to me due to a lot of the decision making that is going on by him. Ok, I?ve vented. NOT!!!!!!!!! Kimmy, I hope you have a great day and pass this on to Michael, David, Kenny when ya get a chance. Sometimes they need a reality check to get them out of there bubble.

Kevin ? Upstate NY

Hi Kim,

Perhaps its time to put Wang in the bull pen. The Yankees cant send him down to the minors, but at the same time, this is not a developmental league. Whats wrong with putting him in the bull pen? Let him work out is problems in the off season. Get is pitch count up in the winter league if he wants to remain a starter

Lets put joba in the bullpen and start Phil hughes.

Just throw wang under the bus…joe g gives his other pitchers preference, trade wang let him prosper elsewhere, how can yankee mgmt issue wang an ultimatum? if wang could speak good english, i don’t think this would be a problem and now they’re expecting their first child; wonder how much pressure it will be for him? well, i guess yankee mgmt will ship him back to taiwan on a cargo flight!

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