A few weeks ago, I landed Chien-Ming Wang on my fantasy baseball team, and I was ecstatic. The guy has been consistent since he came up in 2006, and I figured having a guy that could rack up anywhere from 18-20 wins for the season.
Where is that guy?
In his first start of the season against Baltimore, Wang got shelled. He only lasted 3.2 innings, gave up nine hits on seven runs to swell his ERA to 17.18.
Everyone chalked it up to rustiness, since Wang was pitching for the first time after a shortened 2008 season. That seemed more than fair; first start of the season, hasn't pitched since June, just needed to get acclimated.
However, in his second start, he was even worse.
Wang only lasted one inning, and gave up eight runs on six hits to elevate his ERA to 28.93. His pitches were all over the place, and his trademark sinker ball was up in the zone. He looked lost as he could not record an out in the second inning.
Wang has been the reliable pitcher the Yankees have been able to depend on over the past three seasons. He's the guy that would almost always pitch into the eighth inning and save the bullpen from overuse.
Now he's the one that is causing the overuse of the bullpen, and no one is sure why Wang can't get it together.
Physically, he's fine...at least that's what he's been telling Joe Girardi and his pitching coach, Dave Eiland. Wang hasn't been seen favoring his surgically repaired foot, which is in essence a good sign.
However, Wang looked absolutely dejected after his two starts. He has had good side session and bullpens, but for some reason, he can't translate that into his game performances.
Jorge Posada has said that Wang is simply up in the zone, and Posada is unable to get him to get his pitches down. Whether it has become a confidence issue, no one is completely sure, but this guy looks nothing like the Chien-Ming Wang the Yankees are used to.
Wang needs to get on the right track and fast. If the Yankees are hoping to not repeat their awful start from last year, they are going to need Wang at his best, and right now he looks like a lost soul.
Hopefully, sooner rather than later, the real Chien-Ming Wang will stand up and regain his confidence and his sinker ball.
Otherwise, the Yankees and my fantasy team will be in serious trouble, and no one wants that.