Tough loss last night for the Yanks, wasting a well pitched game by AJ Burnett. But Josh Johnson was every bit as good, he baffled the Yankee hitters for 7 innings with dominating fastballs, sliders and a devastating change up. The game ended up being decided by a Johnny Damon error.
AJ Burnett was masterful, commanding his fastball to both sides of the plate and showing the best curveballs and sliders he has since his first few starts of the season. It was a continuation of the progress he made in his start last Sunday against the Mets (this time without the Walks) so he appears to be headed in the right direction. He and Posada worked well together, dispelling any notions that the two players dislike each other or have styles that simply don’t mesh. When AJ was pulled out in the 7th, he fist bumped Posada in the chest as a sign of appreciation for a job well done.
Johnny Damon was the goat of this game. He misplayed a routine fly ball that led to the game deciding run. Girardi tried to cover for him, saying that the lighting in that stadium can be tough and he probably lost the ball in the lights. But Johnny said on the post game show that he did no such thing. It wasn’t the lights, it wasn’t the eye problem he had last week, he said he put his glove out and simply missed the ball. Here’s his quotes from last night:
“I had a good read on the ball. I knew what the ball was doing,” Damon said. “He kind of inside-outed the ball and it was going to center. I ended up missing the ball by a foot and that’s totally unacceptable. It’s amazing. There’s been a lot of plays that I’ve messed up this year.”I’m definitely a much better defender than that. It comes in bunches. For a while, I was pretty good out there, and then lately, I’ve been brutal.”
AJ Burnett showed me why he gets such high marks from teammates when he was interviewed on the post game. He put the blame for the loss on himself, for making the mistake that Uggla sent over the wall. He put no blame whatsoever on Johnny, and even praised him as a guy who’s always busting his butt out there. Very classy move by AJ.
Some have complained that the Jeter attempted bunt in the 8th was a bad move, citing his team leading BA with RISP. It was a good play, he simply didn’t execute it. It’s not an easy thing to do facing a hard thrower like Nunez. He was bunting for a hit, and the key to understanding the play was the positioning of the Marlin infielders. If you noticed Uggla, he was standing about 5 feet away from 2nd, looking for the DP. Derek was trying to bunt to the 1B side, there’s no way on Earth Uggla would have been able to get over to cover 1B in time. A well executed bunt would pull the pitcher and First Baseman in, and then its a foot race to the bag which Jeter should win. The reason Uggla stayed so far over is the way the Yanks sold it. Jeter showed bunt on the first pitch and pulled back (Ball 1), then swung at the next pitch, then attempted to bunt again. So the Marlin infielders couldn’t commit one way or the other, leaving a better opportunity for the bunt to be successful. He was taking advantage of the Marlin defensive alignment. Good play, it just wasn’t executed.
Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie release As frustrating as it is to lose such a well pitched game, I think the Yanks are poised to maked another run. They’re healthy, their bullpen problems from April are a distant memory, AJ Burnett is clearly on track and he and CC should carry us through the next few weeks. Andy pitches 2 of his next 4 on the road, and the 2 home games are vs SEA and TOR, who he should handle. Joba’s a work in progress, Wang is at a point where he is giving us a chance to win. We’re entering a soft patch in the schedule facing ATL, NYM, SEA, TOR, MIN (all of whom are around .500) before facing LAA heading into the All Star break. No reason we can’t take 2 of 3 in all of those series, including the Marlin series with Sabathia vs Volstead tonight.
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