Yanks eke by Joe Mauer, 4-3

Trenton walks off with a win
B.J. Ryan: What could have been

A.J. Burnett definitely didn’t have his best stuff tonight. He uncorked three wild pitches and walked more than he struck out. As cliched as it sounds, his breaking balls were just too good, and he couldn’t dump them into the strike zone. As good pitchers are wont to do, though, Burnett found a way to get outs when he had to, and the Yankees managed to beat Joe Mauer and the rest of the Twins 4-3 for their fifth series win in a row.

To start the game, Burnett was sharp. Through two innings, he had thrown 17 of 25 pitches for strikes, but the zone slipped away after that. He uncorked two wild pitches in the third, and the Twins plated a run on one of them. Joe Mauer brought home the second with a bomb off the left field wall. Just 10 of his 19 pitches that inning went for strikes.

Over the next few innings, Burnett would pitch into and out of trouble. He put runners on base in every inning but never caved. He recorded just two strike outs today, his lowest one-game total since his short appearance against Boston, but they came at opportune times. He struck out Michael Cuddyer with the bases loaded and two outs in the 5th and then K’d Denard Span with two on and two out in the 6th. He would finish in the 7th with a fly out, and it would be enough for his 8th win of the year.

Meanwhile, the Yanks were efficient with their runs, and they scored quietly. They plated three in the third on a Nick Swisher ground out and a two-run Brett Gardner single. They added another in the 5th on an Alex Rodriguez single. It was enough.

After Burnett left, the Yanks’ pen took over. First up was Phil the Lefty. On to face, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, we all just had a feeling that he wouldn’t emerge unscathed. After falling behind 3-0 on Mauer, Coke gave up a 3-1 blast to right field. It’s fast becoming impossible to get Mauer out at home. Coke struck out Morneau for the second time this year, and Phil the Righty came in.

Hughes, clearly the Yanks’ new 8th Inning Guy, breezed through his first three outs. He ran into a slight hiccup when Brian Buscher singled with two outs in the 8th. The Twins sent up Jose Morales, a decent average/OBP guy with no power who serves as the team’s third-string catcher, and Joe Girardi countered with Mariano Rivera. Four outs and 11 pitches later, the Yankees would have their sixth win of the season against the Twins.

When Girardi went to Rivera, a few fans objected. Why not let Hughes throw to Morales? The answer though is simple. Even though Hughes has thrown lights out baseball from the pen, even though Morales isn’t that much of a threat, Mariano Rivera is Mariano Rivera. He’s the guy with whom the Yanks will live and die, and as the Red Sox had already won by then and the Rays were nearly there, the Yanks had to win. Rivera hardly had to work for his 22nd save.

Wild Pitch Notes: Jesse Spector at Touching the Bases has a short post up with some interesting if useless trivia about Burnett’s start. According to Spector, pitchers have made six starts with at least three wild pitches this year, and three of those belong to Burnett. He is also the first AL pitcher since September 27, 2004 to throw three wild pitches and win.

Trenton walks off with a win
B.J. Ryan: What could have been
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    The post title here made me LOL, especially b/c it’s so true.

    • RAB poster

      Don’t forget Morneau.

  • BigBlueAL

    OK I just came online and was curious to read about the whole Mo in the 8th, take out Hughes subject.

    You can never object to bringing in Mo ever, hell even if its in the 3rd inning. But to me the problem is if Girardi wants to keep Hughes in the bullpen, which apparently he said after the game Hughes will most likely remain in the bullpen for the rest of the season, because he is so important to the pen then how the hell do you not trust him to get out Jose freakin Morales with 2 outs and a runner on 1st??

    Alot of people here like to talk about long term >>>>>> short term, then how do you not leave Hughes in there and “risk” having Mo throw more than 1 inning?? Obviously in the end Mo barely threw any pitches and finished the game in a breeze so really nothing at all to bitch about, but was it really necessary to bring him in there when Hughes apparently is so important to the bullpen that he cant be removed to go back into the rotation yet he cant be trusted to face Jose Morales with 2 outs and a runner on 1st??

    Anyway another good win and nothing at all to complain about so sorry for rehashing the move in the 8th but I do think it was a curious move to make.

    • Drew

      First off, 4 outs away. Secondly, it’s Mo and he was ready. Thirdly, we clinch the series win. Fourthly, Mo hasn’t pitched for a while. Fifthlizilzy, who cares? Sixthly, the guy has 22 hits in 65 AB’s. Lastly, it’s Mo, did I say that already?

    • Little Bill

      Normally Hughes stays in there, but Mo hadn’t pitched for a few days so there was no “risk” in having Mo throw more than 1 inning. Girardi knew this and wanted to lock the game down right then. Maybe he wants to use Hughes tomorrow. This is so petty it’s not worth arguing over.

      • BigBlueAL

        Yeah I know it is petty, just curious if other people were maybe looking at it the same way I was. Again I wasnt arguing because you cant complain about the result, nor you should ever complain about bringing in Mo whenever possible.

        • Bo

          If you don’t have faith in Hughes to get that huge stick in Jose Morales who do you have faith in out there?

          Mo shouldn’t have been needed last night. That was a panic move. Have faith in Hughes. it’s not like it was mauer or JM up.

          • AndrewYF

            Rivera was going to pitch the 9th anyway. Who do you trust more, Rivera or Hughes?

            It’s an easy decision. Morales is a switch-hitter, so he’d bat left, and Rivera destroys lefties while Hughes actually struggles with them. He can get them out enough not to be Justin Masterson, but why take the risk?

  • Ivan

    Hey it wasn’t pretty but the results is what matters. The Yankees are just rolling right now.

    It just comes to show you how the baseball is like no other season compared to the other major sports in the United States. It’s truly a marathon and not a sprint. Couple weeks ago, the yanks were struggling and couldn’t hit period especially A-Rod. Now, A-Rod is on fire and overall the offense has been very good, thus the yanks have won alot more.

    Sure their probably most likely will be another valley but overall this team is too good not to make the playoffs. GO YANKEES!!!

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    I could care less if the 12 wins of the 14 were walk offs or blow outs; what matters is that they were wins.

    • Zach

      True, but I think their era over that span is like 3.25, which makes me happier than if it was 6.85 and they were winning 8-6 ball gmaes

    • RAB poster

      You are completely right about that Rebecca.

  • Little Bill

    I hate to say I told you so about AJ, but I told you so. He just keeps dominating and dominating and dominating. Tonight he got a little lucky, but got the K’s when he needed them. I knew this signing was a good one and everyone keeps saying, “well eventually he’ll fall apart.” He hasn’t and he won’t. Thank God Brian Cashman is running this team and thank God we got AJ and not the old and washed up Derek Lowe like some people wanted to.

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      I want Burnett to succeed as much as you and everybody else does, but I just want to remind you that we’re still only three months into his five-year contract, and a lot can go right (or wrong) over the next four years.

      Javier Vazquez was looking really sharp way back in 2004 around this time of year, and we all know what happened to him the second half of the season. God forbid it happens to Burnett, but it happens.

      You can’t judge a contract on less than fifteen starts, unless it’s Carl Pavano’s (maybe).

      • carl

        Burnett has had proven success in the AL East. Comparing AJ to Vazquez is ridiculous. If you look at AJs career splits, He is better in the 2nd half.

        • Little Bill

          I agree carl! Burnett has been very good in the AL East. Derek Lowe is currently struggling in that black hole known as the NL East. AJ is a proven #2 and is a good compliment to CC.

        • The Fallen Phoenix

          No, it really isn’t. Burnett’s “proven success” is one full season at an ERA+ of 105, and injury-shortened seasosn of ERA+ of 115 and 119.

          That’s good, don’t get me wrong. And I was actually in favor of Burnett’s signing, so I’m mostly posing as the devil’s advocate right now. But expectations really need to be tempered right now, because a lot can go wrong between now and the end of AJ Burnett’s contract.

          Before getting to New York (as a 27-year-old workhorse), Vazquez had four straight seasons of 32 or more starts with ERA+ of 119, 130, 108, and 139.

          When you consider Vazquez’s stuff (which admittedly doesn’t match AJ’s pure stuff, but few pitchers’ do), he was – by all accounts – as highly-touted a pitcher as AJ Burnett was this past offseason, if not moreso due to his age and durability.

    • Spaceman.Spiff

      Lol, Little Bill, you can say “I told you so” after every one of AJ’s good starts but you’re not really understanding the problem people had with the signing. We knew/know AJ’s this kind of pitcher but we just have concerns about his ability to stay healthy throughout a 5 year deal. So you can say “I told you so” to the handful of guys who foolishly thought AJ Burnett couldn’t pitch but almost everyone else knows AJ Burnett can pitch like a great #2. When he stays healthy for the majority of his 5 year deal, then you can say “I told you so” to the rest of us.

      • andrew

        Jeez. Thanks spaceman. It’s definitely getting old…

        I knew this signing was a good one and everyone keeps saying, “well eventually he’ll fall apart.” He hasn’t and he won’t

        “He hasn’t” and “he won’t” are two totally unrelated things. He hasn’t gotten injured through 15 starts. Yay. Alert the media. We still have 4.5 years to go. As every single other person as said… we are all hoping that AJ stays healthy throughout the duration of his 5 year deal. We know he can be a great compliment to CC when healthy, nobody is denying that, so you aren’t really saying “I told you so” to anyone…

        • Chris

          I think the injury concerns for AJ are overblown. He’s basically had 4 injuries in his career:

          2002: Stress fracture in his foot
          2002: Bone bruise in his elbow
          2003-2006: TJ Surgery
          2007: Sore right shoulder

          He had 4 DL stints that are directly related to his TJ surgery and caused him to miss time in 3 different seasons. It’s also possible that the bone bruise is related to the TJ surgery (as a root cause), but that’s not certain.

          • andrew

            Even if you roll the TJS into one… 4 is still a lot…

      • Salty Buggah

        Exactly right. Even though, many were for AJ anyway.

    • Salty Buggah

      Do have to do this after every freakin start of AJ’s? This is the 3rd time in a row you’ve said this and you get the same answers everytime but yet you do not listen.

      Everytime something goes your way, which BTW is how most of us on RAB were thinking anyways, you proclaim you are the only right one in the world and how everyone else is dumb and doesn’t know anything.

      Like I said yesterday, PLEASE stop this “I told you so thing.” I beg you and I’m asking you nicely…it’s REALLY annoying.

      • LiveFromNewYork

        If he cared about being annoying, he’d never say anything.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I hate to say I told you so about AJ, but I told you so… I knew this signing was a good one…

      Axl, is that you?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      These “I told you so” posts are annoying. Little Bill, please knock it off.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    “It’s fast becoming impossible to get Mauer out at home.”

    Joe Mauer, home split, 2009 – 121 plate appearances, .429/.512/.755 (1.267)

    :: head explodes ::

  • ChrisS

    Hughes, clearly the Yanks’ new 8th Inning Guy


    • Bo

      Because having a great bullpen is a problem in what way?

      How will this hurt his development? You cannot say he doesn’t look like a different pitcher now

      • Tank Foster

        Oh, but Bo, he “needs his innings” because if he doesn’t pitch 180 this season he still has a cap next season and he’s going to turn into a pumpkin and Tom Verducci will wag his finger at Dave Eiland.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        How will this hurt his development? You cannot say he doesn’t look like a different pitcher now.

        You’re right, he does look like a different pitcher. He looks like a reliever.

        Being a reliever hurts his development.

        • Tank Foster

          One can argue that being a reliever might hurt his development.

          Stating it as a fact is stretching things. I’d go no further than saying it changes his development pattern to have him in the bullpen. Longterm, it could help him, how do we know?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Fair enough.

            Being a reliever delays his development. Delaying his development hurts the team going forward.

            • Tank Foster

              Again, not to be a pest, but you can’t say for sure it delays anything, other than it delays him being “uncapped” for innings pitched, according to the Verducci thing. That’s the only thing that’s a fact, because it’s straight numbers.

              Everything else? His development of control, his stuff, his thinking, his confidence, etc., it’s possible that all of that might be improving more from bullpen work than it would be as a starter.

              And yes, I accept that the opposite might be true, too, that he might also be improving slower than he would be if he were starting.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                I haven’t looked at Pitch f/x data to confirm this, but relievers tend to throw their secondary pitches less, so Hughes is likely refining fewer pitches in his arsenal as a reliever as opposed to the work he’d be putting in on his third and fourth offerings as a starter.

                He’s also not mastering the art of turning a lineup over multiple times and setting up hitters for PA’s later in the game. Nor is he conditioning his body to throw 100-120 pitches per appearance.

                • RAB poster

                  But we need him as a reliever. I’ll take the consequences in the future, realizing that the effects hopefully won’t be too extreme.

                • Tank Foster

                  Agree. I admit that you’re probably right in all of your statements on Hughes.

                  I just don’t like knee-jerk (and I know you weren’t knee-jerking, but many people do) opposition to someone like Hughes pitching in relief. There are things that pitchers can learn in the bullpen. I trust the Yankees have a solid plan for him and know what they’re doing. I also think Hughes wouldn’t be doing this if he didn’t want to, and I think that counts for something.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  I’m not really upset that they put Hughes in the bullpen.

                  I’m upset that they’re still leaving him in the bullpen. We’ve identified numerous other relief pitchers who are doing quite well. We can have a good pen without Hughes. Aceves, Coke, and Robertson have been dynamite. Bruney is working their way back. Albaladejo is pitching much better and has already returned. Marte will be back by the playoffs. Melancon and Claggett deserve another shot. Dunn, WLDR, and Nova are all pitching well in the minors.

                  We have more than enough pitchers to assemble a quality 7 man pen without him. So, thanks for the dynamite relief work, Phil, it was appreciated. Now, go back to Scranton for a month or so and keep working on your repertoire, so that you can come back up in August/September ready to step right into the rotation for the stretch run and the playoffs.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Oh, and I left Mitre out of that.

                  Mo, Aceves, Coke, Robertson, Bruney, Tomko, Albaladejo
                  Melancon, Claggett, Dunn, WLDR
                  Mitre, Nova


                  No need to delay Hughes development or preclude him from being a starting pitcher THIS SEASON for the big league club in September and October. If we’re giving playoff starts to CMW, Pettitte, or Aceves because we want Phil Hughes in the bullpen, I’ll be upset.

  • Tank Foster

    Gardner for ROY. (He’ll NEVER get it, of course…the writers….oy).

    • Bo

      Any group that awards anything to Angel Berroa is suspect.

    • AndrewYF

      What’s wrong with the writers? What Rick Porcello has done is heads and shoulders (and torso and legs) above what Gardner has done.

      • Jake K.

        Or Ricky Romero.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          12 starts, 79.0 IP, 2.96 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 27 BB, 66 K, .252 BAA – Ricky Romero
          13 starts, 85.1 IP, 3.69 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 30 BB, 71 K, .226 BAA – Mystery Pitcher X
          15 starts, 97.2 IP, 3.59 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 23 BB, 50 K, .251 BAA – Mystery Pitcher Y
          16 starts, 87.0 IP, 4.14 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 31 BB, 47 K, .284 BAA – Rick Porcello

          If I told you that Mystery Pitcher X was Toronto’s Scott RIchmond and Mystery Pitcher Y was Baltimore’s Brad Bergesen, would you believe me?

          If I told you that not only is Rick Porcello not the Al Rookie of the Year, but he’s not even one of the three best rookie starters in the AL this year, would you believe me?

          Or would you follow the BBTN and the Francesa hype machines and proclaim Porcello the end-all-be-all of rookie starters?

          • Zach

            can i get his last 5 starts??

      • Tank Foster

        Is he that much better? 108 ERA+, 31 walks and 47 Ks in 87 innings, 1.46 WHIP.

        Gardner isn’t great, and isn’t even a regular player. But he’s closer to Porcello than alot of people make out. I don’t know at what point we stop worrying about it being “fluky,” but Gardner’s line and his defense look like an everyday player’s, not a so-so prospect/4th outfielder’s.

        • Sam


        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          Right now I think Girardi is doing a great job of using the hot hand in CF. He also has tried very hard to get favorable matchups for Brett. I don’t want to diminish anything Brett has done, because he’s definitely been far better than what I expected, but I’m still not sure he’s an everyday player. Right now worst case scenario is that he’s looking like a solid platoon player. Those are very valuable while they are cheap.

          • Tank Foster

            If you took Gardner and added a few more doubles and a few more homers, you’d have to say he’s an every day player. Let’s just remember that early 20s age players typically develop more power in their mid-20s, and that his SBs make us some for the lack of power.

            • Mattingly’s Love Child

              Certainly. But his swing hardly suggests power, and no scouts that have ever watched him think he’s going to develop much. He’s 25, turning 26, so that doesn’t leave a lot of room to grow in the power department.

              Don’t get me wrong, Gardner has been great. But Girardi, IMO, has done a great job of protecing him against tough lefties and sitting him down before he gets into too bad of a slump (as helped that Melky has hit when Garnder wasn’t). If Gardner can in fact hit .270-.280 (which to me would translate into a .350-.360 OB) as an EVERY day player, he’s gold. I’m still not sure he can hit that well playing every day. If Gardner’s a .250 hitter, he probably won’t get enough walks to be useful everyday.

              • Tank Foster

                Never thought about the match-up thing, but you’re probably right about that.

              • ChrisS

                Right, I don’t think he needs to add all that much power to be an everyday player – provided his command of the strike zone isn’t a passing thing. Gardner’s D provides a lot of value and the OBP is nothing to sneeze at. A .725 OPS could give Brett a 10-year career, you know until the wheels slow up.

                wOBA, while not perfect, was developed because SLG and OBP aren’t equally valuable. Not making outs is more valuable than getting an extra base. Using that, Gardner is the 8th best hitter on a stacked Yankees offense (ahead of Cano and Melky). And he’s 10th among ML CFers with more than 100PAs. Getting that kind of offense in addition to above average – to – excellent defense is the very definition of a starter.

        • RAB poster


        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Notable AL Position Player Rookies:

          205 PA’s, .287/.360/.416 (104+), +8.1 CF UZR, 18/3 SB – Brett Gardner
          182 PA’s, .264/.341/.460 (106+), -2.9 LF UZR, 1/0 SB – Nolan Reimold
          109 PA’s, .267/.321/.416 (90+), 17% CS, 0/0 SB – Matt Wieters
          114 PA’s, .257/.327/.406 (88+), +0.7 SS UZR, 1/3 SB – Gordon Beckham

          My current AL RoY Ballot:
          1) Ricky Romero
          2) Scott Richmond
          3) Brett Gardner
          4) Brad Bergesen
          5) Nolan Reimold

          • Marc

            What about Porcello?

          • ChrisS

            I could get behind that, Romero has been filthy.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              The scary thing: All five guys on my ballot play in the AL East, and the list doesn’t include any of the Orioles elite rookie prospects of Weiters/Matusz/Tillman/Arrieta.

  • JohnC

    think BJ Ryan is worth looking into as a 2nd lefty out of the pen? Doesn’t seem like Marte is coming back this year.

    • RAB poster

      Ha ha new B.J. Ryan post.

    • A.D.

      They could, but Ryan is pretty terrible, the Jays didn’t just eat ~15 million on his contract for no reason.

    • Colombo

      Off-topic alert!!!

  • http://eemack.blogspot.com Jackson

    The Yankees are good at baseball.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


  • pete c.

    Burnett had 3 wild pitches. Has anyone mentioned Posada was a statue behind the plate. On all of those pitches not once did he move to block the ball. Makes you wonder about the rumors the the Yankee pitchers don’t like to pitch to him. He won’t block whether it’s a play at the plate or a pitch in the dirt. Offensively he stands out defensively, people should be talking about him like they do about Jeter. IMO it would be more appropriate.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Actually, watching the game, I thought Posada did a good job. Burnett had three wild pitches but Posada saved about three more with great glovework.

      Burnett shoulda had 6 or 7 wild pitches. He was all over the place.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Pete: You ever catch? I have for a long time. One of the hardest defensive acts in baseball is trying to get in front of a fastball going to the wrong place. Posada saved a handful of other wild pitches last night and let a few nasty, nasty pitches by him. Even Johnny bench would have had a tough time with A.J. last night.

      • Tank Foster

        I said to my wife “your boy Jorgie is stinking tonite.” She said “but those balls are all over the place.” I started wondering about that, right about the time that either Cone or Singleton pointed out that Burnett has tons of movement on the ball and was really wild, so that it’s tough to blame Jorge.

        But what I want to know is why we almost never see Jorge do that catcher move where they spring to the side, do a “split” with their legs, and turn the glove like an infielder to block the ball. He seems to backhand balls that are right in front of him even sometimes.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          She said “but those balls are all over the place.”

          That’s what SHE said!


        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          He seems to backhand balls that are right in front of him even sometimes.

          95 mile an hour fastballs are going very fast. It’s hard to get your body in front of them.

          Look, I’m all on board with the idea that Jorge’s bat makes him valuable to the Yanks and that his defense isn’t the best. But last night is a bad example of that, and Burnett was more than willing to take the blame for it in the post-game.

          • Tank Foster

            I wasn’t trying to directly slam his defense or vent about anything. I just think it’s odd that I never see him make the classic catchers’ blocking move. I’m sure he has done it, but you get so used to seeing it from catchers, it’s like it’s automatic, but I don’t see Jorge do it.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

              I just think it’s odd that I never see him make the classic catchers’ blocking move.

              Hyperbole, FTW! :)

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Pete: You ever catch? I have for a long time.

        That’s what SHE said!

        • Tank Foster

          No, that’s what HE said.

    • YankeeScribe

      Jorge Posada is a lousy defensive catcher at times. What else is new?

      • Rob in CT

        I saw 2 of the WPs. I thought 1 was Jorge’s fault (the bouncer in front of the plate). The other (fastball that missed down and in when it was supposed to be away) was on AJ, no doubt. I didn’t see the third.

  • pete c.

    Ok so maybe I overreacted to what I saw but blocking pitches is what he’s supposed to do when the need arrises. I didn’t see him even move in the direction of the ball, I geuss that’s what surprised me. And yes I did catch, in H.S. not very well I might add, but I do understand that blocking a pitch just like the plate is something nobody wants to do it, but it’s part of the job description.

  • http://gearupforsports.com greg

    Where is Ramiro Pena? Why must we watch the god awful Ransom play. He need to realize his life in the Pro’s is over at 33 years old sans highlight. Pena is just getting started how bout a switcheroo


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