Tagged: AJ Burnett

A Strange Case, Eh?

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #55 – 6/4/10 – Yankees @ Blue Jays



Final Score: Yankees 1, Blue Jays 6.



Welcome to Canada, eh?
This was our first game against the Toronto Blue Jays this season. We were up in the land of maple syrup and bacon, playing at the Rogers Center Centre.
In tonight’s thrilling installment of the Strange Case Of Dr. AJ and Mr. Burnett, we saw Mr. Burnett. He is Dr. AJ‘s not-so-strikeout alter ego, who likes to give up home runs, and gets owned by AstroTurf.
I know the Blue Jays have been hitting a lot of home runs this season, but three off of AJ? Come on, now.
Mr. Burnett pitched six innings, and gave up six runs on six hits. 6 IP, 6 H, 6 R. 6-6-6?
Only AJ Burnett would manage to have his final line be the Devil’s number. His behavior behaviour makes this number seem quite fitting. That’s not it. It gets even creepier. AJ had two strikeouts, and he walked four batters. 2 K, 4 BB. 2 + 4 = 6. 
Well, that explains AJ’s bad start: He was possessed by the Devil.
I must admit, I lost interest in this game early on. I didn’t stop watching, I just stopped paying attention. I was watching the game online through MLB.tv, and I had my TV on ESPN, which was showing the National Spelling Bee. 
I found the words rhabdomyoma and leguleian far more interesting than AJ’s generosity to the Jays, and our comatose bats. I got fired up when one girl was asked to spell gnocchi. Really? Gnocchi is a National Spelling Bee word? I think that there should be a strict rule, stating that a word which is found on an Olive Garden menu cannot be used in the National Spelling Bee.
Anyway, back to the snoozefest game.
I enjoy seeing zeros across the board when they’re in our favor favour, but I don’t like seeing zeros down our own RBI column. Take a took at this beauty:
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How can that be, when the Yankees scored one run? Well, the run was scored when Nick Swisher grounded into a double play. The run scored, but he wasn’t given the RBI. We had no RBIs on the night. That pretty much sums up our offense during this game.

In conclusion:



On to the next.

Back On Track

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #50 – 5/30/10 – Indians @ Yankees



Final Score: Yankees 7, Indians 3.



In today’s installment of the Strange Case Of Dr. AJ & Mr. Burnett, we saw the skillful talent of Dr. AJ.
Burnett is a mystery. I hate using movie-line cliches, but he really is like a box of chocolate. Which AJ are you going to get? You don’t know until he pitches a couple of innings. In this game, he pitched eight solid innings, gave up three runs (only ONE of them was earned) on five hits. He walked no batters, and struck out eight. This is the AJ we like to see.
He handed the game over to Mariano Rivera, who closed it perfectly. 
Our bats were alive, scoring seven runs on twelve hits. Teixeira looks like he’s heating up, he hit his eighth home run of the season, and went 2-for-4 in the game. We saw doubles, triples, and hits galore. Have I mentioned that I love this lineup? I don’t envy the pitchers who have to face us.
All in all, it was a great game. We quickly erased the disappointment of the previous game, and got back on track. 

The Good Old 2-for-1

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #45.a – 5/25/10 – Yankees @ Twins



Semi-Final Score: Yankees 0, Twins 0.




Is it me, or did AJ Burnett seem to pitch better in the rain? He had a little bit of a shaky time during  a couple of innings, but he managed to get himself out of trouble, and shut the Twins out through five innings. This was a good start from AJ Burnett, even though the rain cut it short. Had the game continued, he could have probably pitched into the seventh inning, since he finished the fifth with 75 pitches.

What was particularly funny was seeing the Twins’ crew reacting to rain. They had been playing in a dome for nearly three decades, so this was the first time in a long time that they had to brave the elements during a baseball game. They obviously weren’t used to it. One official even said (I’m paraphrasing here): “Since we haven’t had experience with this sort of thing, we went by the official rules set by Major League Baseball. This is all very new to us, but we made the decisions in accordance with official rules.”

It was cute to see such uncertainty when it came to rain delays or game suspensions. We’re used to it, and rain is a regular thing for us to suffer through in the first couple of months of the season. It was also nice to see that we were a part of history: This was the first rain-out in the new ballpark. 

I think the rain during this game woke up Twins’ fans, and made them realize that it’s important to check the weather forecasts before baseball games. That is something they hadn’t done for almost 30 years.

Anyway, the game is suspended until tomorrow. The game will be picked up from the sixth inning, and everything will be exactly the same as it was left off. AJ Burnett needs the Yankees to score in the first inning of the resumed game (which will be the top of the sixth) to put him in line for his first win since facing the Baltimore Orioles earlier this month.




2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #45.b – 5/26/10 – Yankees @ Twins



Final Score: Yankees 1, Twins 0.



Picking up where we left off the night before, the game started in the top of the sixth inning. Duensing was on the mound for the Minnesota Twins, trying to hold onto the shutout that Scott Baker began the night before. After striking out Kevin Russo on three pitches, Duensing seemed to be on a roll. Then, Captain Clutch stepped up to the plate.
Derek Jeter blasted a solo home run off of the Twin’s lefty, putting the Yankees on the board and taking the lead. AJ Burnett needed the Yankees to score in the first inning of the resumed game (which was the top of the sixth) to put him in line for a win. Who other than our Captain would have his teammate’s back like that? Indeed, Jeter’s home run put Burnett en-route to his first win since facing the Orioles earlier this month.
No one thought that the 1-0 score would hold up, not with the Twins’ lineup, so we were hoping that our bats would at least pad this lead to secure a win for us, and a win for AJ.
They didn’t do that, but the result was still sweet for the team, and for AJ. It would have been a shame to see Burnett’s efforts the night before go to waste.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, David Robertson was on the mound to preserve the lead, and keep us on track for the win. The first batter he faced was Joe Mauer, who is never pleasant to face. Mauer hit a rocket right onto Dave Robertson’s derriere, and we all cringed at the sight and sound of it. Yes, the sound. We heard that ball pop off of D-Rob’s backside. The ball bounced off the butt (hello, alliteration) of Robertson, and right into Alex Rodriguez’s glove. Joe Mauer was out.
For a split-second, we all panicked. With the string of injuries that the Yankees had been suffering from recently, the first thought on my mind upon seeing Robertson get hit was “Oh no. Not another one. Please stop hurting our players!” 
There was a visit to the mound to check on Robertson to see if he was alright. Robertson was okay, and a huge sigh of relief spread amongst the Yankee Faithful. Thank God he’s okay. The last thing we need is another player injured, especially a bullpen pitcher.
In the same inning Derek Jeter gave us some of that Jeterian Magic. He made a Vintage Jeter jump-throw to end the inning and save the day. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen Jeter’s jump-throw over the years, but I’m still in awe every time I see it. It was as beautiful as it has always been. 
So, in one inning, Derek Jeter hit the game-winning home run, and made an amazing defensive play to preserve it. Concurrently, Captain Clutch told all of his haters to collectively suck it.
David Robertson went on to get two more outs, before Joba Chamberlain relieved him. Chamberlain then continued to pitch, and had a beautiful eighth inning. He handed the ball over to God who, of course, got the save.
None of us thought that a 1-0 lead would hold up, but it did. Our three pitchers deserve the highest of praise for their efforts in this game. We can’t always blow-out the opposition by scoring a dozen runs. We need to be able to win these one-run games if we want glory. That’s what we did last season, and hopefully we’ll be continuing to do so this season.

To Sum It All Up…

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #40 – 5/19/10 – Rays @ Yankees



Box Score:

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Pre-game:
The loss the night before left me…
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The thought of facing the Rays made me…

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In-Game:

AJ Burnett often leaves me…

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He seems to be…
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All I have to say to AJ is…

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Through eight innings, our bats were…

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While the Rays’ bats…

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Boone Logan, I…
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… of you.
You’re still welcome in my…

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As long as you stay away from…

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Seeing Mark Melancon made me feel…
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Because he was brought in
to a situation that was…

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He still managed to…

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But then again, who didn’t?

Randy Winn at the plate, makes me…
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And Derek Jeter’s slump is making me…

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Brett Gardner got caught stealing…

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Marcus Thames stepped on his own bat, and hurt himself…

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And with Ramiro Pena in the outfield, we no longer have a bench…

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In the ninth inning, someone said…

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And our bats got…

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While the Rays’ bullpen…

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We started to have…

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But ended up…

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It was too little, too late, and the Yankees…

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Post-game:
Jorge Posada is out for a month…
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So I think we should just pick a dosage…

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And think of Andy Pettitte on the mound tomorrow…

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Welcome Home

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #35 – 5/14/10 – Twins @ Yankees



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It feels great to be home.
Yes, I’m aware that I’m writing this from Dubai, but it still feels good to see our Bombers back in the Bronx. I almost forgot that we even wore pinstripes, because it feels like it’s been so long since our team has been home.
It feels even better to see a Yankees win. Today was my parents’ 33rd wedding anniversary, and they were at the game to celebrate. I’m so happy that the Yankees won for them on their day.
AJ Burnett wasn’t great, but he got the job done. He didn’t get the win, but he kept us within an arm’s reach of winning. His final line wasn’t so bad, but if you watched the game you would have seen that his pitching was off. Anyway, he pitched well enough to get the win, but he didn’t get it, thanks to the antics of one Damaso Marte.
Marte was awful, as he has been for a while now. He was great in the postseason last year, but was injured for most of the regular season. Even before the injury, he was awful during the season. 
On the one hand, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, a pitcher who performed so well in the playoffs, and played a vital role in the team winning the World Series, has to be good, right? Well, I’m not so sure. His numbers in the past have been good, but Marte is old. He may have lost his skills. It’s too early in the season to completely rule him out, but I’m definitely not impressed with what I’ve seen from him thus far. 
Boone Logan as our go-to lefty, anyone? He lacks command sometimes, but he’s been one of our better bullpen arms lately. Let’s wait and see. He seems to be working hard on himself, so from now until the All Star break, we’ll have a clearer view of what this guy can do.
Our bats seemed to be awake and ready for action. They had the lead, before Marte gave it up, but there were several missed opportunities throughout the game. Our 2-5 hitters carried us this game. Derek Jeter got a hit, but he still seems to be struggling out there. I’m not reading much into it, he’ll snap out of it soon.
The hero of the night was Alex Rodriguez, with his GRAND SLAM. 
In the seventh inning, the Twins made a mistake that was even worse than Girardi putting Damaso Marte on the mound. Matt Guerrier was pitching, and struggling. With two of our boys already on base, and first base open, the Twins decided to intentionally walk Mark Teixeira to take their chances on Alex Rodriguez. I suppose I can try to understand Ron Gardenhire’s logic behind this decision. Alex Rodriguez hasn’t been hitting many home runs so far, while Mark Teixeira has been hotter than hot since the beginning of May.
So, logically, you’d rather face Rodriguez than Teixeira, right?
WRONG.
Rookie mistake.
We’re talking about Alex Rodriguez, here. On a slow night he’ll drive in a couple of runs. In a slumping season he’ll hit 30 home runs. This is a man who can break out of his (relative) slump at any moment, and when he does, it’s going to hurt. Let’s not forget to mention that A-Rod pretty much owns Guerrier. Before this home run, Rodriguez was batting .718 against the Twins pitcher, with a handful of home runs in the past. I’m not a manager, but even I knew that this choice was a stupid one. When they intentionally walked Teixeira, I said “A-Rod’s going to make them pay for this”. I believe I even said it on Twitter.
Well, I was right. Gardenhire was wrong. Alex made them pay.
I could be wrong, but Alex Rodriguez strikes me as the type that doesn’t appreciate insults. I’m pretty sure that the intentional walk to Teixeira was insulting to A-Rod. Hell, I’d be insulted if I were him! Alex Rodriguez isn’t Randy Winn, you don’t choose to face him. Well, apparently Rodriguez doesn’t respond to insults well. 
Alex Rodriguez says: “Intentionally walk Teixeira to take your chances on me? Not on MY watch, b*tches.”
Sure enough, Alex Rodriguez hit a monster Grand Slam, that won the game for the Yankees. Not only did this teach Ron Gardenhire a lesson, but it also sent a message to the rest of baseball: Slump, or no slump, Alex Rodriguez should never be the batter you choose to face.
The following inning, Joba Chamberlain came in to pitch perfectly. He came into the eighth inning, and struck out the three hitters he faced. While, technically, the win was Damaso Marte’s (since A-Rod’s home run came in the bottom of the seventh), the Official Scorer decided to give Joba the win.
Many people were asking (but not really complaining) about why Chamberlain got the win. Well, it’s all written in the MLB Rulebook. The specific rule that applies to this situation is rule 10.17(c):
10.17(c) : The official scorer shall not credit a
s the winning pitcher a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when at least one succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain its lead. In such a case, the official scorer shall credit as the winning pitcher the succeeding relief pitcher who was most effective, in the judgment of the official scorer.
Rule 10.17(c) Comment: The official scorer generally should, but is not required to, consider the appearance of a relief pitcher to be ineffective and brief if such relief pitcher pitches less than one inning and allows two or more earned runs to score (even if such runs are charged to a previous pitcher).”
So, Joba Chamberlain got the win.
Mariano Rivera closed the game, even though it wasn’t a save situation. Who’s complaining about this? No one is. It’s been a while since we’ve seen God pitch, so it was wonderful to see him back on the mound. I don’t even need to say how it went. When God enters the game, you know he gets the job done. Praise be to the best closer of all time. Amen.
All in all, another great game from our boys. It was great to see them back home and wearing the beautiful pinstripes. The Bombers are back to BOMBING in the Bronx. It was nice to see them play the small-ball well, but now they’re back to slugging. This is what makes the Yankees lineup so great, when healthy. There are no weak spots. Once Curtis Granderson is back, the 2010 starting lineup might just be the second-coming of Murderers Row.



You can find Beeeebzy’s blog entries and more at 161st-and-River.com.


Consistently Inconsistent… With ONE Constant.

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #30 – 5/9/10 – Yankees @ Red Sox



Well, was anyone really surprised? 
Listen, I love AJ Burnett, so I’m not going to sit here and slaughter the man. I think he’s a great part of our rotation, and without him we would have been in trouble last year. He is, however, regularly irregular. 
I’m not one to complain, more often than not, Burnett is absolutely solid. In this game, however, he was far from it.
It didn’t help that Jon Lester was, well, Jon Lester. He’s a great pitcher, and held our boys to two runs (home runs from Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher), on four hits, and struck out seven. He pitched seven solid innings for the Red Sox. 
AJ Burnett was pretty much a disaster this game. He gave up hit after hit, and run after run, and was just horrible. I don’t understand the problem that AJ has with pitching at Fenway. Yes, Burnett seems to have “those days” where his pitching is off. He seems to be consistently inconsistent. Luckily, those “bad” days aren’t too frequent, and he is still a solid third starter in our rotation. He always seems to struggle in Boston, though. As a Yankee at least.
When he was with the Blue Jays, he won all of his starts against the Red Sox. With the Yankees, however, he has an ERA of 12.68 against Boston.
Is this a result of letting the whole “rivalry” get to him? I didn’t think players allowed that to happen. While Yankees fans are fighting with Red Sox fans, the players on the field seem to get along in a professional manner. Of course, there are the likes of Jonathan Papelbon and Curt Schilling who always seem to have a word to say about the Yankees. Generally speaking, however, the animosity is mostly between the fans.
The “rivalry” was created for us, and is fed by us, not by the players. Most of the time, it has little to do with actual baseball. Look at this year, for example. The Red Sox are far from being our main competition in the division thus far. Yes, the season is still young, and they could bounce back, but I’m not too worried about them right now. Yet, as fans, we are more passionate about winning at Fenway than we are about winning at any other opposing ballpark in the league. 
Could this be the proof we need to say that fans truly are the extra “man” on the field? In AJ’s case, this argument could hold some truth.
AJ Burnett could be influenced by the emotions of fans when it comes to pitching at Fenway. Statistically speaking, a Yankee win at Fenway is no different from a win at Tropicana Field or Camden Yards. The Red Sox, Rays, and Orioles are all in our division, and getting wins against these teams is of equal importance. Yet Burnett is able to beat the Rays, even though their lineup is tougher, and can beat the Orioles, even though they just swept the Red Sox. Boston, on the other hand, seems to have his number.
I can’t think of any other reason why AJ Burnett can’t seem to get a
solid start against the Red Sox. Yes, he’s somewhat inconsistent. He’ll have a few solid starts, then have a horrible one. It happens randomly with other teams. He’ll face the same team twice, once he’ll be great, and the next time he’ll be shaky. That’s fine, I can deal with that. Against the Red Sox, however, he’s consistently bad. It has become a constant. That makes me think that he has some sort of difficulty against the Red Sox.
What could that difficulty be? I find it hard to believe that any mechanical problems magically show up against the Red Sox. I’d buy that if he at least had a couple of good starts against Boston, and was inconsistent. He’s always been bad against the Red Sox, so it must be mental. Why do I say it’s mental? Because the Red Sox lineup isn’t exactly the toughest in baseball. In my opinion, it can’t be anything other than AJ not having the right mentality going into games against Boston.
Where did the mental problems come from? No one really knows. Since he didn’t have these mental problems as a Blue Jay, I think that he bought into the “rivalry” hype. It’s not because of the actual team he’s facing, because he faced them as a Blue Jay, and he was good. Of course, Jays fans aren’t as intense as we are. I very much doubt that Toronto is a pressure cooker like New York is. Burnett seems to be dealing with this pressure cooker fine against other teams, so what is it about Boston?
It must be the “rivalry”. For a pitcher as random as AJ Burnett, who is consistently inconsistent, the only real constant seems to be getting lit up by the Red Sox.
Let’s hope he gets this problem fixed. Soon.



You can find Beeeebzy’s blog entries and more at 161st-and-River.com.


You’ve Been Cerved

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #26 – 5/4/10 – Orioles @ Yankees



Yet another great game from our New York Yankees. AJ Burnett pitched a gem, Derek Jeter got his 443rd career double, putting him in third place on the All-Time Yankees Doubles List, and we played the small ball very well to win the game. The most impressive player of the game, however, was Francisco Cervelli.
To sum up the game, I made another video.
In honor of Francisco Cervelli, Get Your Cerv On!





You can find Beeeebzy’s blog entries and more at 161st-and-River.com.