Despite my overwhelming desire to discuss anything but last night’s Yankee game, it has to be addressed. I’m sure many Yankee fans switched over to draft coverage rather than watch AJ Burnett’s inability to throw strikes and a red-hot Josh Beckett at the top of his game mowing down Yankee hitters. If you did switch to the draft after the first few innings, you didn’t miss much. You missed some decent low leverage bullpen work by the Yankee relievers and a base hit by Brett Gardner. That’s it.
After last night’s performance, AJ Burnett might consider throwing a pie in his own face. He was dreadful from the outset, unable to locate his fastball and having a curveball that was non-existent. He threw 84 pitches, but only 40 for strikes (48%). You can’t win in the big leagues pitching like that, and certainly not against a patient team like the Red Sox.
Beckett on the other hand was masterful, challenging hitters with n outstanding fastball and putting them away with a nasty curveball. He’s on a hot stretch, picking up where he left off in May (3-0 2.91 ERA) after getting off to a slow start in April (2-2 7.22 ERA). The Yanks did a good job of running up Beckett’s pitch count and getting him out of the game by the 6th, but that only meant they had to face Baseball’s best bullpen in Fenway.
The Yanks are now 0-6 against the Red Sox, with a still unsteady Chien Ming Wang facing Tim Wakefield tonight. I’m sure many Yankee fans are starting to wonder if we simply can’t play with this team. I’m not. As much as we’d like to beat the Red Sox, its just one game in the standings and means little come October. If this was the playoffs, Burnett would never be facing Beckett unless CC was injured. Our bullpen would likely have Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, and possibly other reinforcements from the trade market. The Red Sox are looking to make a deal or two themselves. Either us or the Red Sox could have key injuries or players who are banged up and underperforming by then, as Josh Beckett was last year. So much can change in a week, so 3 months ahead isn’t even worth getting into.
I’d like to end on a positive note, so here’s the best thing that happened last night. Brian Bruney threw a bullpen side session and says he feels strong enough to return to the active roster. I’m still hoping to get a few more looks at Phil Hughes working out of the bullpen before Bruney returns. With Sergio Mitre pitching well in AAA, we don’t really need Phil to be our 6th starter. However, our bullpen needs all the help it can get.
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