So how about that A.J. Burnett? Three starts ago, he couldn’t escape the third inning in a game against Boston, and Yankee fans weren’t sure the team would it get its money’s worth from a guy with a 4.89 ERA. So much for that.
Over his last three starts, Burnett has thrown 20.1 innings. He has allowed 10 hits and one earned run while walking 10 and striking out 26. His ERA has dropped to 3.93, and last night against the Mets he was nearly flawless. He gave up one hit and three walks while striking out a season high 10. The Yanks dominated the game again and won 5-0.
What else can we say about Burnett? He threw 108 pitches and 64 of them were strikes. The Mets couldn’t touch his breaking pitches, and his fastball was sitting above 94 for much of the game. Only Alex Cora, the leadoff man, managed a hit. It came in the sixth, when the Yanks already had a 5-0 lead.
For the Bombers’ offense, it was another night of efficiency. Nick Swisher hit a home run in the third to give the Yanks a lead, and the team took off in the sixth. Facing a tiring Tim Redding, the bats came alive in an interesting way. Through the first five innings, the Yanks hadn’t mustered much of anything against Redding, but they made him work. In the sixth, clinging to a 1-0 lead, they struck.
To start the inning, Nick Swisher flew out. After that, Mark Teixeira saw five pitches and doubled. Three pitches later, the Yanks saw three hitters go to the plate and four runs had scored. A-Rod singled in Teixeira; Cano doubled; and with runners on second and third, Jorge Posada took the first pitch of his at-bat and the last of Redding’s night over the wall in left center. Three run home run, five-run lead. Game over.
The last four innings for the Mets were simply a formality. Burnett threw scoreless frames before giving way to the bullpen. Brian Bruney twirled a 1-2-3 eighth. He needed just seven pitches to get through the inning, and Dave Robertson closed it out with a scoreless ninth.
In the AL East, Tampa and Boston both won. The Yanks hold their slim Wild Card lead through 74 games. Chien-Ming Wang, winless this year and searching for his first victory since June of 2008, will take the hill in the ESPN game. While the Yanks have already won the season series against the Mets, a sweep would be oh-so-nice.