Before Chien-Ming Wang took the mound in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, he had not won an MLB game since June 12, 2012. When he left the rubber later in the day, he did so with 7 shutout innings, and that all-elusive victory.
Wang threw 99 highly-effective pitches to the normally-potent Rangers lineup, and allowed only 7 hits, while walking only 2 batters through those 7 innings. It was an extremely typical start for Wang in that he struck out only 2 Rangers, as the former 19-game winner entered with a career strikeout rate of 4.11 strikeouts per 9 innings. It was a trip in the time machine for Wang, but for one day, he was extremely effective.
Toronto received a big-time offensive day from Adam Lind (3-5, 3 RBI), JP Arencibia (2-4, HR, 2 RBI), and Colby Rasmus (1-4, 2 runs, HR), but the focus was certainly on Wang. In addition, however, the Jays are showing signs of life, as they’ve climbed within 8.5 games of the Red Sox at a now-respectable 32-36.
With Sunday’s win, Toronto completed an improbable road sweep of the Rangers, and in the process, knocked Texas down to 3 games behind AL West-leading Oakland. As the summer heats up, the Blue Jays are certainly still a “work in progress”, but if there is even a possibility of the re-discovery of the old school version of Chien-Ming Wang, it would be a revelation to their highly-weakened pitching staff. Stay tuned to follow whether Wang can keep it together, or whether it was simply a one-start revelation.