The Bat’ler

Everyone else calls him a "Bat’ler," {must be a local dialect thing) but scouts apparently call Shawn Chacon (4-1, 3.94) "suspect"  because he does not throw hard.  However, John Sterling did point out that Greg Maddux has made quite a career out of soft pitches.  Chacon’s signature is changing speeds every pitch.  Fastball, curve, change.  Occasionally a BP fastball or slider.  Keep the hitter off balance.  First pitch strikes.  Like David Cone, Sterling says, Chacon is unafaid to pitch with runners on base.  I do love that about him.  An iron-lined stomach.  Joe Torre thinks he digs
himself into trouble because that’s when he pitches his best.

Well, Chacon didn’t have  to make his own trouble in the first inning tonight.  It took 28 pitches, a Jeter error and a serious injury to Matsui to put the first 2 runners on base with 0 outs.  He got David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez to pop out, then walked Trot Nixon to load the bases.  No problem.  He coaxed the streaking Mike Lowell to pop out to Bernie Williams.

Yankee-killer Tim Wakefield, on the other hand, threw 33 pitches, allowed a double steal and then 2 runs in the first inning, but he still found time to throw some inside pitches suspiciously close.  Why are we so classy?  But it is a good  thing, right?

Poor Chacon.  Was it just me, or did Sterling sound a little down on him by repeatedly emphasizing how lucky he was, with the help of oustanding fielding Bubba Crosby’s great catch?  After all, it was Jeter’s error and Matsui’s sadly injurious fall that took away Chacon’s 2 consecutive opening surefire pop outs and led to his first inning pitch count of 28.  Imagine starting against Boston without feeling secure about your 2 most consistent fielders, and finding out the hard way?  Go, Chacon.  He got out of it safely.  In fact, he left in the 5th with a high pitch count but leading 3-1.  Yes, he had loaded the bases.  I would have left him in, but Proctor sealed the inning off and all was well, until….  Later, Sterling also mentioned that Chacon was failing to throw 1st pitch strikes.  He had thrown nothing BUT first-pitch strikes for several innings of otherwise bad luck, and that without the bat and glove of Sheffield and Matsui.

For awhile, I heard only plusses about Chacon.  Now I am a disconcerted.  Even Torre has said that he does not enjoy watching him pitch because of how he lets runners on base.  Hmmm.  Well, my first t-shirt this year will speak volumes, #39.

Box Score  Boston 5     Yankees 3         
Postgame Pitcher Stats:  Wakefield (W, 3-4, 4.03)     Villone (L, 0-1, 2.77)

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