AJ Burnett did not have his best stuff and allowed 3 runs in the first two innings. However, he settled down and ended up tossing 7 innings of 4 run, 8 hit, 5 strikeout ball. He left with score tied at 4 on the strength of an RBI single from Matsui, a HR from Johnny Damon, and an RBI single from Derek Jeter that scored a second run when the ball was booted by Bobby Abreu. Phil Coke pitched a perfect 8th, marking his 6th straight inning without allowing a run, and the Yankees then scored 3 runs on a Melky RBI single and a 2-run double from Ramiro Pena. Mariano Rivera closed out the 7-4 victory.
What I Liked
1) AJ Burnett battling- AJ’s fastball command was way off, and his allowing 3 runs in the first 2 innings seemed like an ominous sign for the rest of the game. But he battled through his issues and gave the Yankees quality length, allowing just 1 run in his remaining 5 innings. The Yankees were able to use just two relievers, continuing a trend over the last few games of the starters going deep into the game and avoiding overexposure for the pen. The rap on AJ was that when he does not have his best stuff, he is going to get rocked. However, thus far this season, that has not been the case. It seems that AJ really has morphed from a thrower into a pitcher.
2) Phil Coke- Coke has looked very good over the last week, prompting Joe Girardi to give him a more prominent role. Coke entered a tie game in the 8th to face the top of the Angels order. He looked dominant, as he retired the side without allowing a ball to leave the infield, including a strikeout of Bobby Abreu. The Yankees need to find the right mix of guys to use in high leverage spots, and Coke seems to be settling back into the comfort zone that he was in at the end of last season.
3) Melky Cabrera- It took him about 15 games to wrest his job back from Brett Gardner. Although he has failed in some notable spots thus far, Melky has had a number of clutch hits as well. He is at .327/.400/.571 and shows no signs of slowing down. While we have seen this before from Melky and I am unsure about his ability to keep it up, I will gladly admit that I was wrong about him if he finds a way to sustain some of this production over a full season.
4) Ramiro Pena- Pena notched his first MLB RBI’s last night, and has been a lot more effective at the plate than most expected. Although his power is non-existent (.308 SLG), he has reached base at a .345 clip, a perfectly reasonable rate for a utility infielder who can really flash the leather.
What I Didn’t Like
1) Mark Teixeira- Tex seemed to be breaking out over the last few days, hitting the ball with authority but finding no luck as to where it fell. When he doubled and walked in his first two plate appearances last night, I thought that a hot streak was imminent. However, Tex went 0-3 for the rest of the game, and more importantly left 5 runners stranded. He received boos from the Stadium faithful, as some in the crowd finally noticed his poor start. Tex is at .200/.367/.361, reaching base at a solid clip but failing to hit at all. Might people be pitching around him? If so, the return of A-Rod should do wonders for Mark.
I just wanted to add as an aside, because I do not want to dedicate a full post to it, that Jonathan Van Every pitched for the Red Sox last night in their blowout loss. Where is the outrage, Peter Gammons? Why isn’t ESPN covering this like they did the “embarrassment” that was the Nick Swisher pitching experience? The Sox may never recover.
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TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees