The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Flash Points: John Flaherty breaks down the Game 1 pitching match-up

Posted by: Sam Borden - Posted in Misc on Oct 07, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Former Yankee and YES Network analyst John Flaherty has agreed to break down the pitching match-up for every Yankees postseason game exclusively on the LoHud Yankees blog. Be sure to watch John on the YES pregame show at 5 p.m. and immediately after the last out on the postgame. Here’s his take on Game 1:

YANKEES: CC  Sabathia (19-8, 3.37 regular season):

Strengths: “CC has three above average pitches – fastball, slider and change-up – and I love the way he establishes the fastball. The slider is the big pitch, but I think the most important pitch is the change-up. If you’re a right-handed batter, you’ve got to think about 95 mph with the fastball, the slider coming down and in and then he’s got this change-up that he throws on the outside corner and they have to respect that. For a right-handed batter, it’s a lot to handle.”

Weaknesses: “If you’re the casual fan and you see him falling towards the third base dugout and not finishing towards the plate, it’s a sign that his arm is dragging behind and the slider isn’t as tight. It also throws off the location on the fastball. … I think his last outing (when he was hit hard in Tampa) was good for him because he’s been so good for the last couple of months. In some ways, it was the perfect wake-up call.”

TWINS: LHP Brian Duensing (5-2, 3.64 regular season)

Strengths: “Like all those Twins pitchers, he throws strikes. I would say his stuff is average. His fastball is anywhere from 89-92, and his slider is short; it’s not a big breaker. It’s mid-80s with five or six inches of break. His change-up is a decent pitch. If you have to categorize him, he’s your average lefty. Ironically, a lot of his strikeouts were fastballs up in the zone, which would tell me that he throws pitches a little backwards – change-ups and sliders early in the count, and then sneak a fastball by a hitter late.”

Weaknesses: “He’s in for a tough assignment, stepping into this situation at Yankee Stadium. That’s an environment that’s hard for anyone. If he doesn’t throw strikes early in the count, the Yankee will be all over him. Everything I read about him, the Twins are raving about his makeup but we’ll see. If he can’t locate, it could be a short outing for him.”

Edge: “Big edge for the Yankees here. Sabathia is an ace and Duensing is a flip of the coin. The Twins are also rolling on so much adrenaline right now that there could be a bit of a letdown.”




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