Sports Outside the Beltway

Yankees win seventh straight – back to .500

My heart jumped into my throat when Tony Clark hit that liner (that I was sure would tie the game) that landed in Bobby Abreu’s glove.

The turning point of the game (after Abreu’s three-run shot of course – could he be any hotter?) was something fairly innocuous: Farnsworth’s 3-2 pitch that Orlando Hudson swung threw. Arizona’s Stephen Drew had already led off the inning with a double, and no one in the stadium thought Farns could throw three strikes, but he did somehow! And that’s the biggest reason he got by with a fastball down the middle (and the fact that it was 97 mph).

Wang was just ok against a poor Arizona offense. His slider wasn’t as sharp as it has been, but his changeup served to keep hitters off balance. Several nice defensive plays were made behind him – namely two by Cairo (who has to play 1b for every Wang start, at least until D-Mint returns) and a leaping grab by Jeter that saved a run.

This was a matchup of baseball’s best groundball pitchers (Webb ranks first in groundball rate, Wang fourth) – and they produced 21 groundball outs between them but surprisingly Wang had more fly outs (10) than ground outs (9). This was the first chance I’ve had to see last year’s NL Cy Young winner, but I wasn’t that impressed. His fastball tops out at 90 mph, and he throws a good curve and great changeup. The Yanks pounced on him for three first inning runs but he shut them down after that. If he was in the AL East (and they were familiar with him), I’m confident they would have hit him even better.

Seven and counting…

- Elsewhere, pitching prospect Joba Chamberlain was promoted to Double-A Trenton after posting great numbers at Tampa: 40 innings, 2.03 era, 51 strikeouts, 11 walks and a .181 batting average against. He was the 41st overall pick last year, and has a mid 90s fastball with a good slider and an improving changeup. He made his AA debut tonight, dominating in 5 innings, striking out 9 without allowing a run!

- To make room for Roger Clemens on the 40-man roster, Phil Hughes was moved from the 15 to the 60-day DL. Not really unexpected (what with the ankle sprain), so assuming it’s retroactive to May 1 (when he pulled his hamstring), he’ll come off the DL July 1. It’ll probably be at least three weeks (rehabbing and making minor league starts) after that until he’s back in the Bronx.

- Prilys Cuello, a highly touted Dominican prospect made his U.S. debut for the Tampa Yankees (filling in because of injuries). He’s projected as a middle-infielder in the mold of Robbie Cano, and becomes the second youngest player in all of Single-A baseball. He hit leadoff and went 0-4 with two strikeouts. When the injured regulars return, he’s expected to get demoted to the (rookie ball) Gulf Coast League Yankees.

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