Joe Girardi had hinted before yesterday’s outing that Chien-Ming Wang, new father and owner of the worst ERA on baseball history through 5 starts, was pitching for his spot in the rotation against the Washington Nationals, the worst team in baseball. So how did Wang perform?
Overall, not badly. He gave up a monster homer to Adam Dunn, and did not get much help from his defense or the umpire in the top of the 5th inning. Christian Guzman, who appeared to be out on the play, was called safe on a grounder to A-Rod with Willie Harris on 2nd, who took 3rd on the throw. With 1st and 3rd and one out, Nick Johnson hit a liner to center that got past the diving Melky Cabrera, resulting in a 2-run triple.
Wang lasted just 5 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts and 91 pitches. It was not a great outing, but certainly much better than his recent starts. With a break or two going his way, it might have been just a 1-run outing. However, I don’t think Wang pitched badly enough to lose his spot in the rotation.
Phil Hughes certainly complicates the situation, as he looked great last night, hitting 94-95 on the fastball regularly and showing good bite on his curveball. striking out 2 and allowing just 1 hit in 2 innings. To Joe Girardi, and many observers, Hughes looks like he can do better than Wang in the rotation right now. It will be a tough decision for Joe, since Hughes has been very useful out of the bullpen, and Wang is showing signs of life (his fastball got as high as 94). Granted, it was against a mediocre Washington team, but I think Wang has showed enough to earn himself another chance. If he puts up another stinker, all bets are off, and we are looking at perhaps a phantom DL stint or else a conversion to the bullpen. Thoughts?