The Yankees defeated the Tigers 12-3 today, and I want to focus on the good pitching performances turned in by AJ Burnett and Phil Hughes. Burnett went two easy innings, allowing just one hit while apparently working very efficiently. If Burnett can stay healthy, he is primed to have a huge season. His stuff is as good as they come in the majors, and he seems to have finally mastered the mental aspects of the sport. In regard to the Phranchise, he went three innings, allowing no hits and two walks wile striking out four. Apparently the Tigers announcers were raving about his command and poise on the mound. Phil may be establishing himself as the first callup in the event of a pitching injury.
In regard to relievers, Eric Hacker rebounded from an awful outing with a perfect inning, while Andrew Brackman struggled with his control and allowed two hits, hit a batter, and allowed a run. Mark Melancon went an inning without allowing a run, notching a strikeout and allowing a walk. He has yet to give up an earned run this preseason, and I think that he is definitely injecting himself into the bullpen mix. Finally, Brian Bruney surrendered two runs on a walk and a home run. The home run does not bother me, as a guy who throws as hard as Brian will fall victim to hitter running into one every so often. The walk is more troubling, as the one thing keeping Bruney from being an elite reliever is his control. He needs to work on throwing strikes, or guys like Melancon will soon be nipping at his heels.
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