Tagged: A.J. Burnett

The Bronx vs. Broad Street

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For the record, my prediction is the Yankees in 7.

And Alex Rodriguez’s hit was definitely a home run. Considering what a crappy job the umpires have been doing in the postseason, I’m surprised that they got this call right.

Anyway…it’s been an entertaining series so far. The story of the series so far, IMO, has been the pitching. The battle of the former Indians in Game 1 was a beauty. CC Sabathia pitched well; Cliff Lee, however, was brilliant. And his behind-the-back catch in the 8th inning was incredible! Game 2 was a bit of a surprise…I definitely didn’t expect A.J. Burnett to outpitch Pedro Martinez. I can’t stand Pedro. He’s an arrogant, obnoxious a-hole. (He’s also a coward who thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to grab the head of a man who is more than twice his age and throw him to the ground…but I digress….) I must admit, however, that Pedro’s resurgence has been quite amazing, considering that his right arm seemed like it was going to fall off just a few years ago. The Yankees may have been Pedro’s daddy in 2004, but I didn’t think that would be the case again. And it wasn’t at first…after all, Pedro did shut up the “who’s your daddy” chants early in the game, and he did strike out 8 Yankees. But Burnett pitched a gem. Tonight’s game has been a good one so far, with the Phillies taking the initial lead and then the Yankees going ahead. Jayson Werth just hit his second home run of the night. Exciting stuff!

Many years ago, I read some comments about New York sports fans compared to Philadelphia sports fans in (I believe) Sports Illustrated. I don’t recall the context of the article itself, just the following comparison of New York and Philadelphia sports fans: New York sports fans will boo anything, including funerals. Philadelphia sports fans don’t boo funerals…they cheer them.

whoa.gifThis should be quite an interesting series.

Oh, by the way:
 
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Interleague play isn’t fun

The Yankees must be getting tired of interleague play this season. They lost to the Marlins, 2-1, dropping their interleague W-L record to 5-6.

Facing his former teammates, A.J. Burnett lasted 6 and 1/2 innings, giving up just 2 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits with 3 walks and 8 strikeouts. Unfortunately, Josh Johnson outpitched Burnett, going 7 innings and giving up 1 run on 3 hits with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. Overall, the Yankees offense was anemic, and the defense wasn’t exactly stellar either. Angel Berroa and Johnny Damon had errors, but neither error led to Marlins runs.

Once again, Alex Rodriguez was not in the starting lineup. He did, however, enter the game in the 8th inning as a pinch hitter, drawing a walk. It was his first regular season at bat against the Marlins in his hometown. The crowd cheered through his entire at bat.

Of course, part of the reason for all those cheers may have been because of the large contingent of Yankee fans who once again filled the seats at Land Shark Stadium. (Is that not one of the worst names for a ballpark in the major leagues?!) The Yankees fans usual chants were answered by Marlins fans with the cow bells that were handed out at the gates. Attending this game probably required several Advil…particularly for Yankees fans, considering the final score.

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Current AL East Standings:

                    W       L       Pct      GB
Boston Red Sox      41      27     .603      —
New York Yankees    38      30     .559      3.0
Toronto Blue Jays   37      33     .529      5.0
Tampa Bay Rays      36      34     .514      6.0
Baltimore Orioles   31      37     .456      10.0

Happy ending to the Subway Series

The Yankees took 2 out of 3 games from the Mets in the 2009 interleague Subway Series. Andy Pettitte gave up 12 hits and got the loss as the Mets won Saturday’s contest, 6-2.

Also on Saturday, Yankees’ reliever Brian Bruney had a hissy fit against Francisco Rodriguez, publicly expressing his dislike of the Mets’ closer. Rodriguez responded with his own comments; both players pretty much sounded like

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However, in game 3 of the series, the Yankees beat the living snot out of Johan Santana, 15-0. The Yankees got 9 runs on 9 hits and chased Santana from the game after just 3 innings. A.J. Burnett, David Robertson, and Phil Hughes combined to shut the Mets down and out, allowing just 6 hits; the Mets left 23 men on base. The Yankees scored 9 of their 15 runs in a very busy 4th inning, which included home runs from Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano, and doubles from Johnny Damon (now decaffinated) and Melky Cabrera.

During batting practice before this game, Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez yelled something at Brian Bruney in left field, continuing the hissy fit of the day before. The two had to be separated by teammates. Just more of

cryinggirl.jpgSheesh. Kids these days!

6-0

No, 6-0 is not the score of the Yankees/Red Sox game tonight — that would be Red Sox 7, Yankees 0. Nope…6-0 is the Red Sox record against the Yankees this season.

pissed.gifThe two teams are now tied for the lead in the AL East. And we can’t ignore the Blue Jays, who are just a game and a half behind the co-leaders.

It’s going to be an interesting season, to say the least.

As for the game itself, the Yankees flat out stunk. A.J. Burnett sucked, lasting less than 3 innings, and giving up 5 runs (3 earned). Only 2 Yankees — Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner — got hits.

Ah well…there’s always tomorrow.

Catching up

I apologize to my readers — all 4 of you! — for being AWOL for more than a week. My roommate had surgery last Monday, so I’ve been visiting her most evenings. Between being busy at work and the stress of the hospital visits (hospitals creep me out), I just haven’t had the energy to post anything here.

To catch up a bit, since my last post, the Yankees have 5 wins and 3 losses. Some notable games:

The June 1st game vs. the Indians featured another attack of the midges, but the bugs didn’t bug starter Joba Chamberlain too much this time. The Yankees set a new MLB record of 18 error-free games, breaking the record that the Red Sox set in 2006, and they beat the Indians 5-2.

applause.jpgIn the June 2nd game vs. the Rangers, there was an exceptional amount of testosterone flying through the air, after Mark Texeira was hit by pitches from Vicente Padilla in the 2nd and 4th innings. Tex then slid into Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus at 2nd base in the 4th. Inspired by Tex’s display of manliness, the Yankees scored 7 runs in that inning. A.J. Burnett sent a message of his own in the 5th inning, throwing a pitch over the head of Nelson Cruz. That display of testosterone drew a warning from the home plate umpire to both dugouts. It also drew a fine, as well as a 6 game suspension two days later. (Padilla was also fined.) Burnett’s appeal of the fine will allow him to play until a hearing takes place.

Tex’s comments about being hit by those pitches:

“There’s really no reason for it in baseball. You know, if you can’t get a guy out, don’t hit him. You know, if you don’t want to pitch to a guy, then, you know, put four fingers out there and walk him,” Teixeira said.

I agree, Tex. As I mentioned here, I think the pitcher and hitter should just drop their pants, let everyone see who is bigger, and then tuck it back in and get on with the game.

Unfortunately, the Yankees errorless innings streak ended in this game. Oh well, at least they set a new record and won the game, 12-3.

The June 4th game vs. the Rangers featured Chien-Ming Wang’s return to the starting rotation. Unfortunately, he was not particularly effective, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits, including a home run, in 4.2 innings. But the Yankees rallied in the 8th inning, overcoming a 5-1 deficit to win the game, 8-6.

In the June 5th game vs. the Rays, Mariano Rivera blew his first save of the season and got his second loss, when Joe Dillon broke a 5-5 tie with a single in the 9th inning. The Rays scored 4 runs (3 earned) off Rivera in the 9th for the win.

I watched the Yankees beat the Rays tonight (Monday), 5-3. Andy Pettitte got the win, Mariano Rivera got the save; it was the 59th time the two have combined for a win and a save. Pettitte and Rivera are the all-time MLB winner-closer combo leaders, with two more wins/saves than Oakland’s Bob Welch and Dennis Eckersley.


Since my last blog post here, the Nationals have 5 losses and 2 wins. It’s really quite astonishing that they have those two wins in 7 games! Some notable games:

On June 2nd, the Nationals had a surprising 10-6 win against the Giants and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. The Giants were leading 5-2 when the rally began with the Nats scoring 2 runs at the bottom of the 6th. The Nats offense exploded for 6 runs in the 8th inning. Joel Suckrahan Hanrahan gave up a run in the 9th inning, but managed to finish the inning and the game without any further damage. Prior to that win, the Nationals had lost 6 straight games.

On June 3rd, the Giants’ Randy Johnson was supposed to be going for his 300th career win, but Mother Nature did not cooperate. The start of the game was delayed for over 3-1/2 hours as MLB hoped the game could be played and history could be made. Now, I understand the historical significance of the game, with Stretch trying for career win #300. But come on… a 3-1/2 hour delay?! That’s ridiculous!! At 10:46, the game was finally postponed and rescheduled for the following evening.

Stretch did get his 300th win on the 4th, in the first game of a doubleheader, as the Giants beat the Nats 5-1. Ironically, the start of this game was also delayed by about an hour because of rain. Too bad so few people actually saw this historic game; attendance was so low that the attendance stats weren’t even listed in the box score. Perhaps the 16,787 attendance figure for the second game was actually a combination of attendance for both games? Anyway, some of the Nationals commentators, members of the media, and Nats fans have fussed about a called strike against Adam Dunn on a 3-2 count to end the 8th inning, which preserved the Giants 2-1 lead with the bases loaded. The call was a bad one — it was definitely NOT a strike — but hey, those are the breaks. Lots of bad calls have been made against the Nationals this season…and against the 29 other MLB teams as well. Bad calls happen. I saw comments on one particular Nats message board which hinted that the umpire had intentionally called a strike to prevent a run from being walked in to tie the game…that, of course, would have given Stretch a no-decision. OK, so in a split second, when the pitch is thrown and caught, the umpire was thinking, “If I call this a ball, then a run will score, and that means that Randy Johnson will end up with a no-decision instead of getting his 300th win tonight, so I should call this a strike even though the pitch was a ball….” Riiiiiiiiight. [SARCASM] I’m sure that’s exactly what that umpire was thinking at that moment. [/SARCASM] This, of course, was the second time the Nationals were involved in a history-making game. In August of 2007, former Nats pitcher Mike Bacsik gave up Baroids Bonds’ 756th career home run.

After the Nats 3-1 loss to the Mets on June 5th, Joel Hanrahan went back to being Joel Suckrahan as far as I’m concerned. With the game tied at 1 in the 10th inning, Suckrahan gave up a single to Luis Castillo, a walk to Carlos Beltrán, and a double to David Wright which scored Castillo and Beltrán. And that was that. The loss caused Suckrahan to lose his job as the closer for the second time this season.

The June 6th game vs. the Mets was another surprising win for the Nationals. John Lannan pitched the first complete game of his career, allowing just 1 run and 4 hits in a 7-1 win. He even hit a single in the 5th inning and scored a run  on Nick Johnson’s home run. Adam Dunn and Elijah Dukes also hit home runs in the game, which lasted exactly 2 hours.

The Nationals reverted back to their usual form on the 7th, losing to the Mets 7-0. Just more of the same suckitude.

At least the Nationals didn’t lose tonight…they didn’t play tonight…….

A loss and a win

Gosh, I wonder which of my teams got the loss tonight?!

Mets 7, Nationals 4. *sigh* The Nats offense was unable to capitalize on and injury depleted Mets lineup, and a 6-walk performance from Johan Santana tonight…probably because Santana also had 11 strikeouts! And there was another disputed home run that was reviewed, and once again, the review went in favor of the Mets. A ball that dropped into right field and initially (and correctly) was not ruled a home run, but after reviewing the play, the umpires reversed their call. I guess when a team displays as much suckitude as the Nationals have displayed this season, calls will just automatically go against them…whether or not those calls are actually correct. The lone bright spot in the game for the Nats was Adam Dunn’s 465 foot home run.



On the other hand, the Yankees defeated the Rangers tonight, 9-2. A.J. Burnett gave the Yankees 6 innings of shutout ball, allowing just 3 hits. He walked 4 and struck out 7. Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano each had a home run, and Hideki Matsui hit two. The Yankees have won have won 12 of their last 15 games, and tonight’s win, coupled with the Red Sox’ loss to the Twins, puts them in a tie for first place with Boston!

jump4joy.jpgYep, another jump for joy! 😀

It should be noted that Chien-Ming Wang made another relief appearance and was perfect for the final two innings, with two strikeouts.

Has interleague play run its course?

Is interleague play really necessary anymore? In my opinion, the novelty has worn off. It was fun at first, but it’s just not as interesting as it initially was. This weekend, in particular — with some of the so-called “rivalries” games — was just…well, boring. Was anyone other than the fans of the respective teams really interested in the result of the series between the last place Nationals and the last place Orioles, or the result of the series between the last place A’s and the next-to-last place Diamondbacks? Of course, last place teams in each league do play other last place teams within their own leagues, but those aren’t hyped the way interleague series are hyped.

Another reason why I’m no longer a big fan of interleague play is because it creates a major, and possibly dangerous, disadvantage for AL teams when they play in NL ballparks. Thanks to the lack of a DH in the AL, pitchers don’t normally have to bat, and therefore aren’t used to running the bases. At best, they risk tiring sooner than they normally would; at worst, they risk injury. Remember, it was during interleague play last year when Chien-Ming Wang’s season ended due to a foot injury suffered while running the bases.

Fans generally still seem to enjoy interleague play, as evidenced by the fact that attendence rises for it. I googled “interleague play” tonight out of curiosity, and I found an article showing that ballplayers apparently are far less fond of interleague play than fans. According to Jayson Stark at ESPN.com:

Players we surveyed this week told Rumblings they would estimate the number of players who dislike interleague play is somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-75 percent.

Stark mentions several of the players’ complaints regarding interleague play, most of which make a lot of sense, IMO.

One suggestion made by a ballplayer caught my attention in that ESPN.com article.

Phillies pitcher Chad Durbin proposed an idea we’ve campaigned for forever: “Use the visiting team’s league rules,” he said. “Show the fans something unique.”

I think that’s pretty interesting. It would definitely be unique.

What do you think? Do you still find interleague play fun and/or interesting?



Yankees vs. Phillies

The home run total at the Bronx Bandbox increased by 12 during the weekend interleague series between the Yankees and the Phillies — 6 by each team — as the Yankees lost 2 of 3 games to the Phillies. There have been 87 home runs already at Yankee Stadium, and it’s not even at the end of May. Just imagine how the home runs will be flying out of the park once the temperature and humidity go up later in the season!

Friday: the Yankees lost, 7-3, in a game that included a total of 7 home runs. The testosterone level on the field skyrocketed on the field in the 1st inning when Brett Myers threw a pitch behind Derek Jeter, in obvious retaliation after A.J. Burnett hit Chase Utley in the shoulder. The plate umpire then warned both dugouts. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous to throw a pitch at a batter. If you hit him, you give the opposing team a baserunner, and you risk injuring him. Why not just have the pitcher and hitter drop their pants, whip it out to see which one is bigger, and then get on with the game.

Chien-Ming Wang was activated before the game, replaced Burnett in the 7th inning. He threw 51 pitches, giving up 2 runs (including a home run) on 6 hits. His pitches had more velocity, but his location was off a bit. Maybe he’s just rusty?

Saturday: the Yankees were victorious in a 5-4 come from behind win. Those 9th inning comebacks seem to be becoming a Yankees trademark this season. Oh, and  “only” 4 home runs were hit in that game.

Sunday: the Yankees lost, 4-3, in 11 innings, before a crowd of 46,986. That’s the largest Yankee Stadium crowd since opening day. Melky Cabrera did his best to be the hero for the second night in a row, hitting a game-tying single in the 9th inning. But it wasn’t meant to be…no wild celebration for the Yankees after this game. CC Sabathia pitched very well, allowing just 3 runs on 9 hits over 8 innings. But with two outs and the score tied in the 11th inning, Brett Tomko walked Chase Utley, and after Utley stole second, Carlos Ruiz doubled to score Utley. The Yankees were unable to score in the bottom of the 11th.

Interleague play resumes for the Yankees on June 12th, vs. the Mets at Yankee Stadium.


Nationals vs. Orioles

The Battle of the Beltways — i.e., the interleague series between the Nationals and the Orioles — wasn’t quite as much of a snoozer as I thought it would be. Yes, both teams stink, and the games probably held very little interest for anyone other than Nats or O’s fans. But the Nationals starting pitchers had very good games on Friday and Saturday, although the usually prolific offense fell asleep on those nights in losses to the Orioles. However, the offense woke up in time to bail out a less than spectacular effort from Sunday’s starter to prevent a sweep.

Friday: the Nationals lost, 4-2 in 12 innings. Jordan Zimmermann had the longest start of his young career, allowing  2 runs on 6 hits over 7 innings. Zimm2 walked 1, struck out 7, and gave up a home run. But the Nationals offense took the night off, scoring just 2 runs (on Ryan Zimmerman’s 4th inning homer, with Nick Johnson on 1st). It would be easy to blame the bullpen again for this loss…but if the offense had not fallen asleep, the game’s outcome might have been different.

Saturday: I was at this game, a 2-1 loss, getting to see Ross Detweiler for myself. He did not disappoint, with a 6 inning, 1 hit and 1 run performance. Justin Maxwell sparkled on defense with an outstanding catch above and over the wall in centerfield, robbing Brian Roberts of a home run. Julian Tavarez gave up a run in the 7th to give the Orioles a lead that they never lost. The Nats’ normally porous bullpen prevented the Orioles from scoring additional runs, but for the second night in a row, the Nationals offense took the night off. Another game…another loss. Ho hum.

Sunday: I was at this game as well, an 8-5 victory to avoid the sweep. Shairon Martis did not have his A-game, but his offense finally woke up and let him off the hook. His defense helped him out as well…in particular, a leaping catch in front of the out-of-town scoreboard in right field by Austin Kearns, robbing Nick Markakis of a hit in the first inning. Martis also helped himself out with an RBI single in the 5th inning, scoring Wil Nieves to tie the score at 3. Adam Dunn got it done with 2 homers, including a grand slam in the 7th inning after the Orioles intentionally walked Ryan Zimmerman to get to Dunn. Anderson Hernandez added to the defensive highlights with a spectacular diving catch of a Brian Roberts line drive in the 8th inning. Wonder of wonders, Ron Villone, Joe Beimel, and Joel Hanrahan combined to shut down the Orioles over the last 3 innings — no hits, no walks, no runs. Amazing!!

Interleague play resumes for the Nationals on June 12th at Tampa Bay.