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Friday, May 25, 2007

Jered Weavering: Angels 10, Yankees 6

I have yet to see a game by Jered Weaver that really announced, "Wow, he's in great form tonight", though his May 5 start in Texas comes pretty close; he survived the horrors of that place with only a single run charged to him, no small accomplishment. Today's game had everything that sets my teeth on edge, giving up lots of full count outs, failing to execute pitches, and throwing wild many times. On the other hand, considering the opposition is third in runs scored, three runs through five innings where he didn't have his A control is decent.

Mike ran Hector Carrasco out for three frames, but he was effective in only two of them. Mike has shown much more proclivity this year to squeeze more than seems reasonable out of any of his pitching staff, relievers especially; Carrasco for three is begging for trouble, and Oliver beyond the lone lefty he's called on to face just seems like suicide. Shields didn't help by giving up a bases-loaded, one-out double to Robinson Cano on the first pitch, yet another elevated heater that ended up at in the gap. He settled down to retire Doug Mientkiewicz and Melky Cabrera, but at that point the damage had been done and the Yanks were within a grand slam of tying it.

The fact that the Yanks had scored six runs was still insufficient for them to win was due to yet another atypical display of Halo power. Three of the Angels' runs came on homers by Chone Figgins and Casey Kotchman, both taking advantage of Yankee Stadium's famed short right porch. Kotchman himself went 3-5 and drove in one on an RBI single in the sixth. He also turned in several terrific plays that robbed Johnny Damon (1st), recovering from a bad throw to tag out Jorge Posada (3rd), and getting outs on screaming grounders in the third and fifth.

Kotchman has looked increasingly comfortable at the plate lately, but then, Yankees pitching will do that these days. I say that even knowing that Tyler Clippard was impressive in his Sunday start against the Mets, earning a win in his major league debut. Clippard posted good numbers in the minors, but considering his limited experience at AAA, an explosion was not unexpected. Expected savior/hired gun (as usual) Roger Clemens may not be the answer to the Yanks' pitching dilemmas, either, not after he failed to get out of the sixth on Wednesday for AA Trenton, giving up three earned runs over five and a third. He's probably got something left in the tank, but I'm betting it's not as much as the Yankees are hoping for.

Mike Napoli continued his late hitting streak, going 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, one on a bases-loaded walk. Even Shea Hillenbrand was productive, going 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI from the eight hole. It might not be enough to keep him on the team if he can't keep this up against better pitching, but I won't complain while he's wearing an Angels uniform.

Update from the Famous Last Words Dep't: From Bronx Banter we get the following precap of the Angels' situation, in particular, regarding Chone Figgins:

Figgins is the prototypical Angels player, versatile, pesky, but he missed April with a pair of broken fingers on his right hand and has hit like a player coming back from a hand injury thus far in may (.133/.198/.187). It's a bummer to see a burner like Figgins lacking fuel, but I'm sure the Yankees won't mind his disappearing act this weekend. Nor will my wife, who pronounces his first name phonetically and his last name "Friggins."
Too bad for Cliff (and the Yankees) that Figgins is a career .388/.423/.522 hitter at Yankee Stadium.

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