Countdown to Spring Training: 19

In 2005, a young pitcher emerged for the Yankees. Along with Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small, he helped push the Yankees into the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, he was a tough-luck loser. He pitched 6.2 innings and allowed just one run on four hits. In 2006, he contributed big time. Chien-Ming Wang posted a 125 ERA+ and gave up a league low 0.5 HR/9. Where does this fit in with regards to our countdown? Well, Wang won 19 games that year (which led the AL). Let’s break down that total.

Wang had his most wins against the Rays, going 3-0 against them. He beat the Orioles, Red Sox, Mariners, Rangers, and Blue Jays two times each. He won one game against the Indians; Tigers; Marlins; Royals; Twins; and A’s. He failed to record a win against the Angels; Braves; White Sox; and Nationals (though he was very close to a CG against the Nats, but a Ryan Zimmerman walk off homer begged to differ. . 11 of CMW’s wins came at home (3.03 ERA) and eight came on the road (4.35 ERA). He won nine games in the first half of the year (4.00 ERA), he won nine games; in the second half (3.13 ERA), he won ten. His winningest months were May, June, and August, in which he won four games each.

Win number one didn’t come until Wang’s third start number three. He pitched brilliantly in the Metrodome, allowing just two runs (one earned) against the Twins in seven innings. Wang didn’t walk anyone and struck out eight, his season high (and only game in which he struck out more than five batters!).

Win number 19 took place on September 27, Wang’s last start of the season. He wasn’t great–he gave up ten hits and four runs in six innings–but he still managed the win thanks to the Yankees putting up 16 against the O’s with homers by Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada, Jason Giambi, and Robinson Cano.

Wang recorded his signature win of the season on July 28 at Yankee Stadium II. On that night, Wang recorded (to date) his only career complete game shutout. In the nine masterful innings, he allowed just four baserunners: two hits (one each by Julio Lugo and Ty Wigginton) and two walks (one each by Carl Crawford and Greg Norton). The Devil Rays only struck out one time (Lugo), but that didn’t matter. True to his heavy-sinker approach, Wang got the Rays to ground out 17 times in the victory.

In 2007, Wang repeated his 2006 performance, again notching 19 wins. Since 2007, he’s won just 15 games total. It all fell apart on June 15, 2008 (my 21st birthday) in Houston. Ugh. We’ll always have 2006 and 2007, CMW.

A native and resident of the Mean Streets of Southwestern Connecticut, Matt is a narcissistic, misanthropic 20something English teacher who lives by a simple creed: Yankees Only.

2 thoughts on “Countdown to Spring Training: 19

  1. hawaii dave

    Guy was doomed from the start, as his name is Wang, and it is pronounced Wang, the same as the slang term for you know what. And instantly a memo goes out that it is pronounced Wong….well, when you let someone change the way your name is said, because some 8 year olds might snicker, you’re doomed. If your name is Wang, just tell them to say Wang and be done with it.

    I loved watching this guy pitch w a 95 mph sinker and thought he was gonna be a dominant Yankee pitcher for years….how the hell do you break your foot, running?

  2. Natcol

    I think it’s way too early to look at Wang with a retrospective point of view.

    He had a terrible 2012, indeed. But when he came back from the minor league last September, in 131 sinker pitches he made, he actually regained his best form of 2008 in terms of the sinker speed, vertical movement, horizontal movement and rotational rate. Check the data of PITCH f/x to find out. You probably want to look closely at the called strike zone for that month, and recall how the Nat’s defense were to see why Davey Johnson said ‘he(Wang)deserves better’ after the game on Sept. 23.

    It was reported that he will play in the world baseball classics. Some said that Wang needs to show he’s effective in WBC. But I have to say that his performance in the 8.2 innings last September already did that.

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