My favorite pitch in baseball. It is almost unhittable if it is mastered. It allows you to get ground ball outs which gets you deeper into games. And it is and has been the key pitch for so many pitchers to play the game of baseball. Some of the names that pop out to you on stat sheets are those of power pitchers. But so many of the good pitchers in baseball establish their supremacy with their finesse. Their changeups, their sliders, their sinkers. Those are my types of pitchers. The guys that work around a count with their secondary pitches, not just their fastball. Nothing against guys like Tim Lincecum or Randy Johnson or any other power pitchers (I am a big fan of Lincecum), but finesse pitching is the stuff I enjoy watching. The likes of Derek Lowe, Aaron Cook and Johan Santana (despite being a big strikeout guy) are who I am talking about.
Derek Lowe spent about a year in Seattle with the Mariners where he picked up his first win on June 6th against the Twins. He was then traded to Boston along with catcher Jason Varitek. In Boston, Lowe thrived. He was very successful both in the bullpen and in the starting rotation. After being in Boston for seven years. He was part of the team that won the first championship in 86 years, breaking the “Curse of the Bambino.” He then went on to play with the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 2004 championship run. He did return to Boston in a Red Sox jersey for their ring ceremony. He played with LA for three years before signing with the Atlanta Braves where he is currently playing. Over his career, Lowe never put up big strikeout numbers, never was a huge name that the opposing team highlighted on their game board before a series. He was good, but he wasn’t considered the toughest guy that would be on the mound.
Aaron Cook came up to the big leagues in 2002. He has played with the Rockies his whole career. He doesn’t have as interesting a story as Lowe does, but nonetheless, he is relevant to what I am talking about right now. He is another guy who doesn’t rely on the fastball 100% of the time. He is a finesse pitcher. He uses his sinker a lot to get guys out. He gets a lot of ground ball outs from this and he has been a very reliable guy for the Rockies over his career. Like Lowe, Cook’s strikeout numbers are never very high. But he is still a very big part of what is going on over in Colorado.
Johan Santana has a little bit of a different style of pitching than Lowe and Cook do. They both have very good sinkers but don’t have as good third and fourth pitches. Santana has the fastball, the very good changeup, and some other pitches that he uses to get guys out. Santana creates finesse pitching differently because he does it with the changeup. His strikeout numbers are generally up there. He has been the strikeout leader before and has always been close. Santana’s finesse is fun to watch because you never know when he is going to pull out that changeup. He doesn’t have the sinker, but he has that changeup.
So, I hope you all see how important finesse pitchers are to baseball. It’s not all about strikeouts. Although they are good to get, ground ball outs do the job just as well as strikeouts. It’s just that they don’t get on the stat sheet.
The Yankees-Red Sox series is pretty much the only thing on my mind among everything else baseball. Obviously it is because I am a Yankee fan and we are in the middle of a season series with our rivals. It’s great. I’m sure every other Yankee fan blogger out there is talking about the same things I am. It’s just how things go. If your team is in a rivalry series, you are going to write about it. So here we go.
Chien Ming Wang did exactly what I assumed he would do when he took the bump last night. He sucked. He was the second Yankee pitcher in a row to be chased before the third inning. Tuesday night, it was AJ, and last night, Wang was chased as well. In Wang’s 2.2 innings pitched, he gave up four runs on six hits and three walks. He gave up one homer to Mike Lowell. Bottom line… he was aweful.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox sent Tim Wakefield to the mound, who has been having a very good season. At 7-3 before the game, he showed how good of a season he has been having. He went 6 innings only giving up 8 hits, three runs, and had two strikeouts. I wish those were the kind of stats we could have from the Yanks pitching. But yeah right. Wang was terrible.
As far as the offense goes, they were fine. They did score last night which made me happy. They only scored five runs so they didn’t do that great. They are definitely capable of more than that. The pitching is what ruined it for us. They were unable to hold the Red Sox offense to a few runs or fewer. They gave up too many early runs and we were out of it by the time we made our comeback. We only lost by one run but hey… you can’t always expect a comeback from the offense. It’s a two way road. The offense does their job and the pitching staff does their job. That’s how it rolls.
We had our big offensive performers last night as did the Red Sox. For us it was obviously Mark Teixeira… when has it not in the recent past. He went 4-5 with a homer and two runs. Johnny Damon hit a homer as his only hit on the night, but at least that’s something. Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui also had good nights at the plate. Matsui went 2-3 with a run scored and Posada went 2-5 with run scored and an RBI. Robby Cano also pitched in with a RBI despite going hitless for the game.
The pitching… well they were so bad I’m not going to talk about them any more. Except Phil Coke and Alfredo Aceves. Kudos to you guys. But Wang and Hughes. You guys sucked. A thumbs down from Simon for you guys.
So I’m really disappointed about how we haven’t been able to get a win against the Red Sox yet this season. If we could get one win, that would STELLAR. So far, it hasn’t looked good so I am not expecting anything good from the Yanks in game three of the series. We do have CC going to the mound for us. He is going against Brad Penny who hasn’t been very consistent this season. He has been alright but maybe we can get something from him. But again, I’m not expecting anything good today.
So we start up interleague action again after the series with the Red Sox. We head back home to host our cross town National League rivals. The Mets. They are having a decent season so far and can’t be underestimated. Johan Santana has been lights out this season. Too bad he hasn’t gotten a ton of run support. But he’s great. We play him and the Mets for three. Then we have a day off before facing the Nats at home for three. We go right into a three game series with the Marlins after the Nats’ series. Then we have the Braves for three after a day off following the Marlins series. We finish everything off against the Mets again in Citi Field. So that’s the near future. Maybe we can get some wins against our interleague opponents because we obviously can’t get any against the stupid Red Sox.
Go Yanks. Maybe we’ll get a win. Possibly. Actually, probably not. I’m being really pessimistic right now aren’t I.