Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Burnett Rollercoaster Continues

The A.J. Burnett debate continues - despite a shaky 5.2 IP outing, the Yankees erratic right-hander won his first game in the month of August since he's been in New York. The Yankees topped the Kansas City Royals 7-4 for their second straight win, which enabled to move into a first place tie with the idle Boston Red Sox in the AL East.
Burnett would not have gotten the win if not for some timely hitting and defense though. Handed a 2-0 lead, Burnett got tagged for three runs by the Royals in the 5th inning. After loading the bases, Burnett walked former Yankee Melky Cabrera to cut the lead in half. Billy Butler then ripped a two run single to right to give KC their lone lead of the night. The play was also the first big defensive play of the inning.

Right fielder Nick Swisher raced over and made a sliding stop of Butler's hit. It kept the the KC DH to a single and also kept a double play in order. And that's exactly what Burnett got, with some major help from Robinson Cano. The Yankees second baseman ranged far to his left to spear Eric Hosmer's grounder and whipped a throw to Derek Jeter to start an inning ending 4-6-3 double play.
Jeter then provided the big hit when the Yankees took the lead right back in the top of the 6th. Consecutive singles by Jorge Posada, Russell Martin, and Brett Gardner tied the game at 3-3. The Jeter, who with three hits raised his average to .282, delivered a two run triple up the gap in right-center to put the Yankees back on top for good.
Burnett came back out for the 6th, but Joe Girardi went to the bullpen with a man and two outs, and lefty Mike Moustakas due up. Boone Logan came on and ended the inning by picking rookie second baseman Johnny Giavotella off of first base. It went down as a caught steal as Giavotella tried to advance to second base, but was thrown out by Mark Teixeira.
The Yankees went to their "big three" to finish things out. Rafael Soriano gave up a run for the first time since coming off the DL, but Mariano Rivera made quick work in the 9th for his 31st save.


Jorge Posada said prior to the game that he would like to play another season even as a part-time contributor. If that is to be the case, it certainly wouldn't be with the Yankees. It would be a shame to see Posada end his career with another team, though it will be no easy task getting a job with another ball club.
Having not caught for a year, immobility, hitting barely over .100 from the right side, and struggling from the left are not things that are conducive to a new contract.

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