June 7, 2007

Wang Keeps Up The Momentum

Chien-Ming Wang gave the Yankees exactly what they needed facing the White Sox Wednesday night. Not only did he pitch well, he pitched a one run complete game. He looked like the Wang we all came to know and love when he started as a rookie, all the way up until his name started to be mentioned in the same sentence as Cy Young's last season.

The Yankees need momentum. As this writer mentioned in his previous column, quoting the old baseball adage that in baseball, momentum ends with the next day's pitcher, then Yankee fans have every reason to be nervous with Mike Mussina scheduled to take the mound against the White Sox Thursday night in Chicago. Without going on a rant, this writer will just state that he has very little confidence that Mussina will give a good performance. There's no need to compile stats when offering up the observation that Mussina pitches well until he decides its okay to give up a home run or two. His game will sometimes fall apart after that. This season, it seems to happen more often. He's an intense player who's quick to criticize others, has finicky habits about getting ready for his starts, and his skills are diminishing. That's not to mention that he's a bad "clubhouse guy" who keeps to himself and huddles over crossword puzzles with a haughty air or self-assurance.

Maybe it's just a fantasy that fans such as me believe that baseball players cluster together in groups around each other's lockers looking for inspiration, and coaching each other so they can win games. We saw the Red Sox become a bunch of idiots and win the World Series. Johnny Damon, a veteran idiot is a "clubhouse" kind of guy who could possibly bring the same type of mood to this team of Yankees. If Mussina takes a break from poring through his dictionary and thesaurus, he could wander over to the group of guys congregating near his locker and learn that the answer to number one, across "What the Yankees need to rescue their season, eight letters", is pitching.

Unless Mussina is a total flake and cares about nobody but himself, he should go out there tonight and try to keep up the momentum that began a few days ago with young Tyler Clippard and continued with fan-favorite and trusted arm Chien-Ming Wang. It doesn't hurt that the Red Sox have had their own troubles facing the Oakland A's and losing five of their last six games. This is the time to capitalize on all that is going good for the Yankees, and all that is going wrong for their rivals.

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