Thursday, August 4, 2011

AJ Stands For Aw Jeez

It's something I thought I would never see, especially two weeks apart. The Yankees offense rolled over the competition and yet the Yankees starting pitcher couldn't last the required five innings to get a win.

The Bombers laid it on Oakland 17-7 July 22, but Phil Hughes got knocked around and exited early. The Yankees topped that total by one yesterday and pounded the Chicago White Sox 18-7. This time around it was A.J. Burnett who Joe Girardi pulled the plug on early. What made it even more disturbing/annoying/frustrating is that the Yankees NEVER score runs for Burnett, but this time around they provided him with 13 after three innings. It was the first time the Yankees had scored double figures for Burnett since his first start of the season.

Hughes bounced back from that nightmare and blanked the White Sox in a 6 1/2 inning rain-shortened victory on Tuesday night. He's already been told he's making his next start and Ivan Nova will be facing the White Sox tonight.

There's been a lot of talk about who should move to the pen, Hughes or Nova, once a six man rotation is no longer/needed wanted. Perhaps that discussion misses the mark though- perhaps it is Burnett that should be pen bound. The 34-yr old right-hander was 6-3 with a 3.86 ERA after his start on June 1. He had pitched into the seventh inning or more in six of his 12 starts and never pitched less than five innings. That was then, this is now.

In his 11 starts since his June 1 win, Burnett has a 5.29 ERA, has not complete six innings six times, and has allowed four or more rusn five times. He's allowed 69 hits and 33 walks in 68 innings. His strike to ball ratio has also been horrible lately. Like most pitchers, Burnett is at his best when he gets ahead of hitters - batters have a .593 OPS when Burnett gets ahead 0-1 and they basically have no shot (.216 OPS) when behind in the count 0-2. Unfortunately, Burnett has gotten behind in too many counts himself the last two months and hitters have taken advantage.

According to, Burnett has thrown, by far, the lowest percentage of fastballs in his career and has thrown more change ups than at any time (and the highest since 2005 with Florida). A dip in velocity, lack of location, pitch count, a new pitching coach, or all of the above could contribute to Burnett's different approach this season. Whatever the reason, nothing has worked of late.

So Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman have some thinking to do. Perhaps they should call for a change up too.


Derek Jeter had two five-hit games from 1995-2010. After last night's 5-6 performance, he has two in the last month. Jeter passed Lou Brock for the #22 spot on the all-time hit list. Next up is Rod Carew, who is 26 hits ahead of the Yankees captain.

Curtis Granderson drove in 5 runs in last night's win to increase his career high to 84 RBI. With two more runs scored, Grandy will reach 100 runs for the third time in his career.

Eric Chavez hit his first home run as a Yankee. Robinson Cano had four RBI and has 11 ribbies in last five games.

Alex Rodriguez is being investigated by MLB for participating in illegal poker names with some big names like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. A-Rod's publicist said he will fully cooperate with the investigation. There's been talk of a possible suspension, which in a word is stupid.

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