Mar 1, 2007

ST Game 1 vs. MIN

Ah, baseball is back. We get to see our friends again - Jeets, Melky, Robbie, Jorgie, Johnny, Wanger, Arod and the Giambino. It's cold up here in New York, but in Tampa it was 80 degrees and sunny today.

As for the game, I actually watched most of it while I was sitting in the dentist's office
having my teeth worked on. It was fantastic to walk in and find a flat-screen TV hanging on the wall. The assistant told me the YES was channel 26, which I turned to. She then said she had no idea there was a channel called 'YES.' I thought everyone knew what YES was. Anyway, I watched the middle innings while that excruciating metal pick was being used, but the game made it pass SO much faster than in previous dental visits.

Fortunately, I also DVR'ed the game -
Wang started off shaky despite 2 perfect innings. His sinker looked flat, and his command was a bit off, leaving several sinkers too high in the zone, but he still completed 2 innings on about 16 pitches, with 5 outs on grounders. His FB was in the low 90s, touching 94. No Ks and no BBs - a typical Wang outing.

Next up was phenom Phil Hughes, the Yanks #1 prospect. He was the shakiest pitcher the Yanks used today. His control was uncharacteristically off (he walked two hitters, although he got hosed on a 3-2 call on the second walk), and he could barely command his curveball (throwing the only wild pitch of the game). If it wasn't for a nice, sliding catch by Matsui with two runners on, Hughes would have allowed 3 earned runs instead of 1. His FB was occasionally perfect, topping out at 94 MPH on the corner. His changeup has improved since the Futures Game last summer, throwing it 4 times for 3 strikes. He did manage to strike out MVP Justin Morneau on a beautifully spotted inside FB, but since his pitch count was already 33, he was pulled for T.J. Beam. Hughes definitely looked the most raw of today's Yankee pitchers, and pitching a few months in AAA will refine his game a lot.

Ross Ohlendorf pitched two scoreless and impressive innings. His sinker was also in the low 90s with good command. He looked like a slightly bigger version of Wang.

But perhaps I was most impressed with Jose Vizcaino's outing. He threw a nice two-seamer, a solid slider, and what looked like a forkball/splitter. He had solid command of all his pitches.

As for the hitters, Damon led off with a HR. Nice way to start his season. Giambi had 2 walks and a HR for a decent OPS of 2.000. Posada, Matsui and Cano also looked good at the plate. Despite Arod's new stance which is supposed to quicken his swing, it was still way too long - like last year, he was fouling or missing mediocre fastballs (I'm talking 87-91 MPH belt high). At least he made a nick pick at 3b in the 1st inning.

I'm excited as hell for game 2, I can't wait to see more of the young guys (Gonzalez, Tabata, Hughes, Sanchez, Ohlendorf, Jackson, Clippard, etc.), and pissed that only half the Spring games are televised.

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