Apr
24

Burnett recovers from poor beginning, but Yanks can’t hold off Angels

By

Photo credit: Chris Carlson/AP (Click for full-size)

At the beginning of the game it was clear that Burnett didn’t have his best stuff. I can remember having written that very line on many occasions last year, so it’s something we’ve grown used to. Bad A.J. some call it, though truly Bad A.J. came out for only one inning. After a 21-pitch, one-run first inning and a 21-pitch, three-run third inning Burnett needed just 33 pitches to get through the next three innings, during which he held the Angels scoreless. With his pitch count at just 90 he was able to start the seventh, but couldn’t finish it.

Biggest Hit: Swisher ties it after Burnett surrenders the lead

Photo credit: Chris Carlson/AP

The Yankees took a 3-1 lead in the third when Robinson Cano singled home Mark Teixeira. That resulted in the nasty collision you see above. A.J. Burnett didn’t seem like he had a lot, but the Yankees offense had done some damage against Ervin Santana. The inning end there, which we’ll get to in a second, but in the bottom of that inning Burnett gave it all back and more. By the end of the inning the Angels had taken the lead.

Curtis Granderson struck out to open the fourth, but two pitches later Nick Swisher tied the game. It wasn’t a very good pitch, and Swish took advantage, hitting it just to the left of the tall wall in right-center. The homer tied the game and it would stay that way for the next four innings.

Biggest Pitch: Joba serves up a meatball

Photo credit: Chris Carlson/AP

With their 2-3-4 hitters due up in the ninth the Yankees needed to keep the score tied in the bottom of the eighth. Joe Girardi turned to his setup man, Joba Chamberlain, but the move backfired. On a 2-1 count he delivered a very hittable fastball to Hideki Matsu, who lined it to right for a single. Kendry Morales followed, and on a 1-1 pitch Joba hung a slider, middle-in, and Morales got all of it. That gave the Angels a two run lead with just three outs to go.

Joba missed on a lot of pitches away to the following hitters. After a Juan Rivera single he managed to retire the next three hitters, though they all hit the ball reasonably well. It’s going to happen sometimes. Some games he’ll throw gas and dominate. Other games he just won’t have it. It’s part and parcel to pitching out of the bullpen, Non-Rivera Division. At least he didn’t blow a lead. Letting the go-ahead runs to score in a tie game is one thing. To have A.J. battle through his final few frames only for Joba to blow it would have been quite another.

A lot of those outside pitches were close, too, and with another ump maybe he gets one or two of them.

Biggest Blunder: Johnson can’t bring home two

Two innings after tying the game it looked like the Yankees were going to take the lead. The sixth started with a walk to Curtis Granderson and a HBP of Nick Swisher. Brett Gardner couldn’t get down a bunt, though, and the Angels got a free out. Derek Jeter nearly drove home the go-ahead run with a liner up the middle, but Ervin Santana got a piece of the ball, slowing it enough for Howie Kendrick to field and make the force at second.

Instead of runners on first and second with one out and a lead, the Yankees had runners on first and third with two outs in a tie game. Nick Johnson, who singled in the fourth, had a chance but did not deliver. He did work a good at-bat, a full-count on eight pitches, but rolled over a low and outside changeup and grounded out to second. That certainly would have changed the tone of the game. The Yanks didn’t get much going after that.

Annoyance

Joba. Not that it was particularly frustrating. As I said before, relievers blow games. It was more frustration at the Yanks offense, really, for blowing that chance in the sixth. Also for blowing a second and third with two outs opportunity in the third.

The bottom of the third. Again, it was Burnett’s only bad inning, and I was pleased with his ability to settle down and maneuver the Angels’ lineup without his A game. Any inning where a pitcher gives back a newly minted lead is going to be frustrating, though.

Joys

Gardner’s first extra base hit of the year was particularly pretty. It’s exactly what a hitter like him is supposed to do. Making the moment further joyous was Jeter’s follow-up double.

Swisher’s homer, not just because it tied the game, but because he’s been hitting the ball so hard lately and has found little luck. This one was a long time coming.

WPA Graph

I like this type of graph. It deviates from the middle, but it often returns. If it were mirrored I would have liked it more.

FanGraphs has the player-by-player breakdown.

Up Next

It’s another FOX affair tomorrow afternoon, a 4:10 p.m. start. Andy Pettitte goes for the Yanks, while Joel Pineiro, who shut down the Yankees last week, goes for the Angels.

Categories : Game Stories
  • bexarama

    Joba was just frustrating because he is so inconsistent. He looked amazing against the As in the first game of that series IIRC, then he looked decent in the Hughes-near-no-no, then today he was terrible. Missing location, everything was getting hammered, including the outs.

    That awful Gardner pop-up bunt, ewwwww.

    Okay now I’m really going to bed, seriously

  • ecology

    as it stands
    tomorrow, I want NJ and Tex benched!
    Replacements?
    Thames @ DH and Posada at first!!
    :)

  • Salty Buggah

    Joba is so frustrating now. I am still not sure the 8th inning role should be given to him permanently, or to any one reliever. (Why was D-Rob taken out after 6 pitches?)

    Tex was also frustrating but he’ll come around so it’s ok.

    AJ, while frustrating, was ok as he battled and limited damage.

    Frustrating game overall but it was only the first time the Yanks lost 2 consecutive this year. They’ll be fine. I hope the Yanks can hit Pineiro tomorrow, unlike last time, to give them a chance to win another series.

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

    Kendry vs. Joba before tonight: 4 for 6. What’s the point of the book if you’re not going to manage by it?

    I second-guessed the game a lot, and it annoyed me. It threw me off my Zen Baseball path. It was winnable, and the Yanks both outdid themselves in the field and on the mound to lose it.

    • Hey ZZ

      Morales also crushes RHP. .596 SLG last year.

    • dkidd

      and the sss argument doesn’t work. managers routinely choose match-ups based on small samples. 4 for 6 is a red flag

    • BigBlueAL

      Marte shouldve started the 8th inning, although we all know lefties dont really affect Matsui and Marte facing Morrales RH probably isnt a great matchup either (although he is weaker hitting RH) but why have him up warming up in the 7th then.

      Funny thing is if Abreu isnt CS Marte pitches to Matsui in the 7th but since it was the magical 8th inning Joba pitched to him and Morrales instead. Pretty stupid but most managers are like that.

  • Hey ZZ

    That Gardner popped that bunt up is not really the thing that was frustrating. Bad bunts are going to happen no matter who you are.

    It is troubling though that he even attempted to bunt that pitch. That is just an incredibly basic play to not try to bunt on a pitch like that.

    Gardner has shown very poor instincts for the game as a major league baseball player thus far.

    • Melky Cabrera

      Yea no kidding! The only thing that could be worse would be trying to bunt with two strikes in a world series game. Only a complete asshole would do something like that… oh wait, Jeter did that? Never mind.

      • poster

        I can’t believe they even tried you in leadoff in Atlanta. You’ve already been moved back in the lineup, right?

  • http://twitter.com/j_sprouse2213 James

    Damn the devil to hell with that Brett Gardner pop up bunt!! I mean that was just god awful.

    and we even heard that in the spring he was working on bunting. lol

    • poster

      Okay, he made one bad bunt. Even Phil Rizzuto didn’t make every bunt, at every time. And yeah, maybe he could’ve attempted to try a better pitch. Once again it’s one at bat, and mistakes happen. Before we start dissing Gardner we need to see them happen consistently.

      • http://twitter.com/j_sprouse2213 James

        Agree 100%. Bad bunts happen…part of the game. Happened to bite the yankees in the ass tonight.

        But my issue kinda goes beyond just tonight with Brett and bunting. For a player like brett gardner, bunting should be something that is simple.

        Along with his sac bunts being somewhat in question. We very rarely see him drop down a drag bunt..which, i would say, should be a big part of any speedster’s game.

        So is this a case where he just doesn’t like to do it or does he not know how to do it?

      • Hey ZZ

        You are underestimating how basic of a play that was to not offer at that pitch. That was not a pitch you could bunt and it was thrown in that spot just for that purpose. You do not see pitchers trying to bunt a pitch like that.

        What you saw was a guy who got the signal to bunt and just did not have the basic baseball instincts to not just follow the exact orders he was given. And going off what James said, for a guy like Gardner not offering at that pitch should be second nature to him.

        • poster

          Maybe, but in 162 games, mistakes happen. I still need to see this happen consistently before I get really pissed at Gardner.

          Honestly, I think all the complaints about Gardner’s lack of baseball skills and “instincts” (e.g. baserunning, bunting) are kind of exaggerated. Noy by a crazy amount, but still.

          • Hey ZZ

            Yeah I agree. I am not really pissed at Gardner. I am really just trying to point out the real mistake he made. It was a reaction play, and someone’s natural reactions are not the easiest thing to fix. I just think it is a bit concerning that the decision not to offer at that pitch did come natural to him. He can still learn, but he also has been playing the game for a while.

            It is very difficult to judge a player’s instinct or feel for the game. A-Rod is a guy you just know is just mentally in tune with every nuance of the game. A lot of athletes just have a pure vision for the sport they play and they can almost see what is going to happen next.

            Gardner appears to be on the opposite end of the spectrum from Alex. Of course, I could be wrong here but a lot of the time Gardner seems to the play game very deliberate.

            • poster

              I get what you’re saying, but you know, I remember seeing Jeter getting caught attempting to steal third in the first inning with 1 out last year. Even to the most “natural” players, mistakes happen. Before I conclude that Gardner has a problem laying off bad pitches to bunt on I’ll need to see him make that mistake consistently without improving.

  • Hey ZZ

    AJ’s 2 seamer was very impressive tonight. And it was very encouraging that he decided to change his game plan and rely on the 2 seamer when he clearly had no command of his 4 seam FB and curve.

    Last year this is the type of game that AJ lets get out of hand with no adjustment.

    • Salty Buggah

      It helped that Cervelli was catching…wait, what?

      At least games like today kill that dumb idea

  • Kevin K

    I do not agree with Joe’s assessment of Joba losing the game. “At least he didn’t blow a lead. Letting the go-ahead runs to score in a tie game is one thing. To have A.J. battle through his final few frames only for Joba to blow it would have been quite another.”

    The only person who should feel any comfort is AJ for gritting it out, when he really was awful last night. I don’t expect Joba to be perfect all the time, but jeez Joba if you want that 8th inning role, you can not get beat like that.

    Gardner not getting the bunt down was a missed opportunity, but there is no guarantee that run comes in if he does get it down. For as much as people here don’t like Gardner, I feel the same way about Joba. Gardner is a filler for LF going into next year. Joba seems to be a permanent fixture in the bullpen now, and he frustrates the heck out of me, I’d love to see him in the 8th inning role on another team.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      “I’d love to see him in the 8th inning role on another team.”

      it’s gotten to that level wow. Hey ppl screamed all spring joba belongs in the pen well they got their wish

  • gargoyle

    The fascination with NJ’s alleged on base skills is getting a bit silly. Dude can’t hit. Matsui has 4HRs already. When will NJ his his 4th? Late June?

    • pat

      Methinks you don’t know what alleged means.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        +.401

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

        I don’t think he knows what can’t means.

      • gargoyle

        It was a poor choice of words but a month from now there will be a lot of people here bitching about Nick Johnson. He simply has no power.

    • V

      :yawn:

      Do you know who’s doing really well? Vernon Wells. Maybe we should trade for him as our DH?

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Yeah, cuz his contract is so much better than NJ’s.

  • http://steves steve s

    Don’t get pinch hitting Thames for Johnson in 9th when a walk to start the inning is what you need.

    • RichYF

      Didn’t you get gargoyle’s memo?

      The best part is that Johnson’s entire role on this team is to get on base in front of Teix and ARod. In a spot where he would shine the bat is taken out of his hands. And by “bat” I mean “alleged on-base skills.”

  • larryf

    I wouldn’t say NJ can’t hit yet. Let’s wait another month after Tex heats up. NJ did have a few dingers in ST…

    As for Gardner, the guy cannot be doubled (essentially) so he either advances runners or forces a guy at second and then he steals second on the next pitch. He should know not to bunt a fastball above the belt. He will learn from his mistakes. I still like him alot. Very patient at bats and a good 2 strike hitter so far. Best #9 hitter we could have and a great leadoff guy to spell the Captain. 476K a year folks!

    • Zack

      This whole “NJ cant hit” talk is stupid. Nick Johnson has had 2539 ABs before this season. Suddenly after 52 AB in 2010 he cant hit

  • scoopemup

    I wonder what Joba,and Fat Johnson would bring in a trade?

    • poster

      Stupidity and ignorance, straight up?

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        This.

    • larryf

      They’re both fat. Too soon to tell. I do like NJ working the pitch count and walking once a game. Sooner or later the down the middle fastballs will meet his bat and we will see some results. Gotta happen. If not, he’s a one year guy for sure. I’d trade Joba for sure. D-Rob is just better as a reliever in my opinion and I am in the Joba/bullpen camp. If Joba was only called by his real name-Justin-this would all be so much easier :-)

      • poster

        Actually, I believe he legally changed his name to Joba.

        • larryf

          smart marketing move.

      • Zack

        So after 3 years of saying he belongs in the pen, he’s finally in the pen and you want to trade him?

        • larryf

          I wouldn’t mind. I, like every Yankee fan, hope his best days are ahead of him. He is young and hopefully with better weight control and mechanics and control of a third pitch-he will enjoy a great career with us.

          • Zack

            And what do you expect to get in return?

            If he’s just a reliever why does he need a 3rd pitch? No reason to get beat on your 3rd best pitch when you’re only out there for 20-25 pitches

        • The Big City of Dreams

          “So after 3 years of saying he belongs in the pen, he’s finally in the pen and you want to trade him?”

          It’s crazy isn’t it

          • Zack

            It’s expected; saying he cant start and needs to be a reliever is based on emotion, saying the 8th inning is more valuable that a starter is based on emotion, and saying he should be traded is based on emotion.

            • The Big City of Dreams

              lol you gotta love yankee fans man. I don’t want to hear anything from any bull pen fan boy. All spring a good number of fans and media got on their soap box and said joba has to be a reliever. But now when he struggles it’s well he’s still getting back into or he can’t be a reliever. They wanted him in the pen and they got so now they have to live with the results. It’s funny though when he blew away guys in fenway and oakland all I heard was joba is back

    • bexarama

      Pujols, obviously. I wonder why Cashman isn’t doing that. You suck, Cashman!!!!! ;_;

  • larryf

    At 23, he needs a third pitch. It will give him added confidence for sure. Especially with irregular velocity on the fastball. I see him as a starter-for another team-in the years ahead. It will be best for him. I will wait patiently like the rest of us but I am predicting a short career with the Yanks. Time will tell.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      what he needs is a trip to scranton

    • Zack

      Why would a 3rd pitch give him confidence? Relievers dont use their 3rd best pitch in big situations, because you dont want to get beat on your 3rd best pitch

  • Turko

    And now batting third, the pitcher, Mark Texiera.

  • hogan

    ANNOYANCE

    Girardi bunting with Gardner with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs in a tie game on the road. COME ON MAN.

    ANNOYANCE

    Joba. And his blazing 92mph fastballs. Let us not hear another single word about him following Rivera as the closer. That’s just a bad joke. As more time goes on I’m inclined to believe he was on HGH or juice or something. 4mph just vanished one winter. Sad really.

    • larryf

      Totally agree. Possibly the fastest man in baseball does not bunt there. He makes contact and can’t be doubled. Pitcher may not throw strikes in a bunting situation so a walk is a possibility as well as what happened-bunting a popup on a high fastball.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      how did the 4mph disappear over the winter when he has thrown hard this yr and throew hard in games last yr. Joba’s issues aren’t hgh related they are mechanical

    • Zack

      Steroids gives you 4mph on your fastball?

      • The Big City of Dreams

        apparently so lol

  • Joseph M

    Signing Nick Johnson was a bad move pure and simple. We can wait another month, we can wait until the All Star break, but in the end it was a bad move. What you see is basically what you’re going to get. It was a dream to think he will hit 20 homers, he’ll be lucky to hit 10, and he will be hard pressed to drive in 60. His OBP will start to trend downward, I wouldn’t be suprised to see him around .360. He’ll wind up batting towards the bottom of the order with Granderson moving up, he may even wind up in a fulltime paltoon situation.

    Gardner is a sub starting in the major leagues. The longer players like this start the more weaknesses get exposed. At some point, the team will give up on Winn and will get serious about finding a fulltime left fielder. Gardner will be returned to the bench and do what he does best, pinch run and late inning defensive replacement.

    Tex will begin to hit and the Yankees will live on their pitching. Hopefully there’s enough pitching to carry them to a championship. They lost to major bats over the winter and replaced them with lessor talents and that’s putting it mildly.

    • Dr Van Nostrand

      oaktag.

      But seriously while you’re predicting the rest of the season I’d like to know Monday’s winning lottery numbers

    • Jack

      Heh. “Paltoon”.

      • bexarama

        lessor

    • Zack

      You typing all this was a bad move plain and simple.

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

      We should all slit our wrists after a two-game losing streak too. /Joseph M’d

    • poster

      Right now their on a pace to win well over 100 games and have lost two in a row, neither of which led to the loss of the series they were in.

    • Hey ZZ

      How many major bats did they lose?

      • Joseph M

        Damon and Matsui.

        • Zack

          While they added Granderson & Johnson

    • bexarama

      you’re acting like we’re going to have a bad offense. lols.

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

      Confirmation bias, thy name is Joseph M. I’m ashamed to share the name.