April 12, 2008, 12:02 am
Does Anyone Still Doubt That Wang Is an Ace?
By Tyler Kepner
Tags: Chien Ming Wang, Yankees
Since Chien-Ming Wang lost twice in the division series last season, there’s been a curious notion floating around among fans that he is not an ace. After Friday’s two-hitter in a 4-1 victory over the Red Sox, are there any doubters left?
When you mention pitchers like Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, Jake Peavy, Josh Beckett and C.C. Sabathia, you really ought to mention Wang. He is in their class.
“If you think about it, why wouldn’t you?” Derek Jeter said. “He won almost 20 the last couple of years. People want to judge him on strikeouts. The bottom line is he gets people out.”
Since the start of the 2006 season, Wang is 41-13 with a 3.54 earned run average. No pitcher has as many victories. He has demonstrated a desire to diversify his repertory, to throw more sliders and four-seamers, and maybe a few changeups (though he threw none Friday).
This is something Wang can do. Sal Fasano, who caught him in the minors, used to rave about how readily Wang mastered new pitches. Remember, Wang did not even throw a sinker when the Yankees signed him in 2000, and now his sinker is one of the best in baseball.
“I feel very good when he goes out there, because you know he’s not going to beat himself,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s going to give guys an opportunity to make plays behind him, he’s going to locate, and he’s going to be down in the zone. He doesn’t walk people and he doesn’t usually have high pitch counts. You feel very comfortable.”
That is how teams are supposed to feel when a true ace starter takes the mound.