For most of last night’s game, A.J. Burnett was cruising. He had held the Indians to just two hits through the first 6 innings, both of those by Asdrubal Cabrera. It all came apart in the seventh, after a dropped pop up off the bat of Lonnie Chisenhall led to a walk, then a hit from Shelley Duncan, then a three run homer from Austin Kearns. I’ll touch on this briefly: Brett Gardner probably should’ve had that ball and the fact that it wasn’t caught obviously came back to haunt the Yankees. Still, though, A.J. should’ve been able to recover to get Chisenhall, Duncan, and Kearns. Those aren’t exactly menacing hitters. Moving on…The Yankees were not exactly lighting up the scoreboard, and Burnett was obviously not getting much run support. Mike Axisa tweeted the following:
It’s amazing how the Yankees never score when Burnett actually pitches well. Like clockwork.
So, I decided to look into things. We’ll make life easy and use quality starts as our definition for “pitching well”, but I’m going to limit it to 6 IP, 3 R, not just ER. Yeah, I’m being a little tough on A.J. there, but, whatever.
A.J.’s quality starts:
April 7 (6 IP, 2 R) against the Twins. In the game, the Yankees won 4-3.
April 25 (8 IP, 1 R) vs. the White Sox; Yankees lose, 2-0.
May 11 vs. the Royals (7 IP, 1 R), Yankees lose, 4-3
May 21 vs. the Mets and the Yankees won the game 7-3.
June 1 (7 IP, 2R )vs. Oakland, Yankees win 4-2.
June 13 (7.2 IP, 1 R) vs. Cleveland, Yankees lose 1-0.
June 29 vs. Milwaukee (7 IP, 2 R), Yankees win 5-2.
Total quality starts: 7
Team record in quality starts: 4-3
Total runs scored by the Yankee offense in A.J.’s quality starts: 23
Average run support during quality starts: 3.29 runs.
For whatever reason, the Yankees don’t score a lot of runs when Burnett is doing his thing on the mound. I don’t know if there’s a reason for it, perhaps quality of opponent. Let’s look whom the Yankees were facing in those games:
4/7 v. Minn: Francisco Liriano
4/25 vs. CHW: Philip Humber
5/11 vs. KC: Vin Mazzaro
5/21 vs. NYM: Chris Capuano
6/1 vs. Oak: Gio Gonzaelz
6/13 vs. Cle: Carlos Carrasco
6/29 vs. Mil: Shaun Marcum
That’s a pretty wide distribution of talent, but Humber and Carrasco shut the lineup down on those dates. The game against the Royals was lost by the bullpen after the Yankees chased Mazzaro after just four innings.
This seems to be just one of those things. It’s too bad it’s happening, and there’s not much of an explanation for it. Hopefully, it can work itself out.
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