The Yankees have fond memories of Junichi Tazawa. Not only did they victimize him for the winning run in the 15th inning a few weeks ago, but they generally hit him around that evening. The game nearly ended an inning earlier, but J.D. Drew was just barely able to snag an Eric Hinske liner. The latter is in the lineup today, hoping to get some similar pitches.
Despite his rough early showings, Tazawa is a pretty solid prospect. You can read Keith Law’s quick take on him here. This was in his first start, against Detroit in the Porcello-Youkilis game. Tazawa has since been pounded by the Rangers for 10 hits and four runs in five innings. So while the stuff might be there, he hasn’t been able to harness it yet. The Yanks would do well to unnerve him early.
Taking the hill for the Yanks is A.J. Burnett. He’s coming off what was actually a pretty good start in Oakland, one poor inning aside. He threw all eight innings, using just 99 pitches along the way. Even better, 66 of them were for strikes. The one inning hurt, because the Yanks couldn’t muster any runs off of Brett Tomko and the vaunted Oakland bullpen, but generally it was up there in terms of his starts. Of course, he did have that one-hit effort against the Sox in the last series.
Johnny Damon‘s out today, and could miss tomorrow, though he’s holding out hope that his knee will be in good enough shape. Eric Hinske slides in for him. He has a career .834 OPS at Fenway Park in 368 career plate appearances.
And on the mound, number thirty-four, A.J. Burnett.