Saturday, July 30, 2011

Burnett, Bats Come Up Short

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would think that the Yankees' hitters got together before each of A.J. Burnett's starts and agreed, "We will not produce offense tonight." (On the flip side of the coin they make up for it when CC Sabathia pitches.) Last night the offense again pulled up lame and Burnett was not good enough as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Yankees for the first time in seven tries this season, 4-2.

After scoring 21 runs in Burnett's first three starts this season, the Yankees have averaged just 3.2 runs per game in his 19 starts since then. Burnett has not helped matters by having an ERA that has gotten progressively higher as the weather has gotten warmer. (3.09 in April to 4.83 in July). Last night was a typical Burnett start, decent, but not great and not good enough to win. He threw a complete game, snapping a streak of three straight starts that he didn't make it out of the 6th inning, and limited the O's to five hits. He also struck out 10 batters for the first time this season.

But Burnett put the Yankees in a hole early, surrendering a 2-run home run to Mark Reynolds in the 2nd inning. Derek Lee added a solo home run, the 20th allowed by Burnett this season (he allowed 25 HR's in each of the last two seasons) and an RBI double. Conversely, Jeremy Guthrie was putting up zeroes on the scoreboard, despite being one of the Yankees favorite targets. With the victory, Guthrie is still just 4-9, 5.15 in 17 appearances (15 starts) against New York.

Guthrie had everything working last night though and the Yankees couldn't take advantage of what little opportunities they had. Guthrie retired the first seven Yankees hitters before Jorge Posada and Russell Martin reached on back to back singles in the 3rd, but Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter couldn't produce in the clutch. Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher drew two out walks in the 4th, but Eric Chavez to grounded out to end the inning.Mark Teixeira finally got the Yankees on the board in the 6th inning with his 29th home run of the season.

Guthrie limited the Yankees to four hits over seven innings and Koji Uehara tossed a scoreless 8th, before the bats finally woke up in the 9th.Consecutive doubles by Cano and Swisher off of Orioles' closer Kevin Gregg cut Baltimore's lead in half. Posada drew a one out walk to put the tying runs on base, but Martin bounced into a force out and Gardner struck out swinging on a full count to end the game. The prior pitch was outside, but was called a strike by home plate ump Mike DiMuro. After he swung and missed at Gregg's final offering, Gardner expressed all of the Yankees' frustrations by smashing his bat on the ground.


As expected, Rafael Soriano was activated before the game and Steve Garrison was sent back to Trenton. Sergio Mitre was placed on the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster.

The Yankees and Orioles play a day-night doubleheader today. Both Orioles starting pitchers are being recalled from the minor leagues. Chris Tillman faces Bartolo Colon in the opener, while Zach Britton goes against Ivan Nova, also being recalled from Triple-A, in the nightcap.

The Yankees held a moment of silence prior to the game for Hideki Irabu, who committed suicide on Wednesday. Jorge Posada called Irabu's death "devastating".

The Yankees' HOPE week concluded with a very emotional reunion of two friends who were orphans in Russia at one time. Read all about it here.

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