The Yankees will face Orioles rookie RHP David Hernandez for the second time tonight. The first time around I mentioned that he “looks like the prototype of the kind of pitcher the Yanks struggle with.” Wordiness aside, that proved true. Hernandez pitched six innings of one-run ball. Andy Pettitte pitched even better, though, allowing just one run over 7.1 innings. Hideki Matsui ended the affair with a one-out walk-off home run.
Hernandez pitched even better his next time out against Boston, pitching seven innings of one-run ball. He picked up a win this time, though he struck out just two during the game. That closed out his July, and it was a memorable one for the rookie. He threw at least six innings in each of his four starts, adn allowed no more than three runs in a single start. His ERA went from 4.19 entering the month to 3.20 exiting it. Orioles fans had a reason to be excited.
August, though, has not been as kind. He’s tossed 29.1 innings and has allowed 19 runs for a 5.83 ERA. His 20:17 K/BB ratio is nothing special, and his 10 home runs allowed has really hurt the team. Unsurprisingly, the Orioles were 1-5 in his August starts, and he reached six innings only twice. Worst of all, opponents had a 1.048 OPS against him. He essentially turned all the hitters he faced into Joe Mauer.
In case you were wondering, no, it’s not that David Hernandez.
A.J. Burnett takes the bump for the Bombers. Minus an Ian Kinsler three-run bomb, Burnett was pretty damn good last time out. It all came apart when he walked a guy, which is disheartening, but I have faith that A.J. can pick it up tonight against the Orioles.
We know that the Yankees called up four players today. Jon Alabaladejo should follow soon. He was hit in the eye (ouch) and is day to day. We could see more call-ups once Scranton finishes its playoff run. Also, Chad Gaudin will start on Thursday in place of Sergio Mitre.
Note to A.J.: Keep the ball on the ground tonight. Please.
And on the mound, number thirty-four, A.J. Burnett.