Over their past six games, the Yankees have taken on such AL powerhouses as the Twins, A’s and Orioles. One might expect the Yankees, a 97-win team, to go 4-2 or maybe even 5-1 against such inferior competition, but alas, they have not. They are 2-4 vs. the AL bottom feeders, and two of those losses came from the arm of A.J. Burnett, who’s not even giving the Yanks a chance.
Tonight, Joe Girardi could have pulled Burnett in the second as he did Saturday in Minnesota. Since Phil Hughes couldn’t last three yesterday, though, Girardi couldn’t risk overworking the bullpen again. He chose instead to let Burnett tough it out, and A.J. didn’t deliver. Through five innings, he threw a whopping 116 pitches. He allowed nine earned runs on nine hits — eight of which went for extra bases. He also walked two and threw three wild pitches. The Yanks, who lost 12-4, never really had a chance.
After the game, everyone involved sounded frustrated. “I’m frustrated,” Joe Girardi said, speaking for everyone. “Part of my job is to remember it’s a person out there struggling. It’s not just an employee of the New York Yankees. It hurts me to see someone struggling. We’ve got to try and fix it.”
“It’s not acceptable, but the bottom line is, I can’t worry about my numbers right now,” Burnett said. “Even if I pitch great the rest of the year, I’m still going to have bad numbers. I’ve got to get on good track. I’m going to get on a good track. I can’t worry about my ERA, my 9-11 record.”
It’s all well and good for A.J. and Girardi to talk about improvement, but after the double headers this weekend and once the five-man pitching rotation gets straightened out, A.J. shouldn’t be it. As I said last weekend, he’s one of the Yanks’ top five starters in salary only. He hasn’t thrown a quality start in ten outings, and his 7.79 ERA since the start of July is utterly abysmal. Adam Warren could do this job for $16.1 million a year less.
On the bright side, A-Rod broke his homerless streak after reaching the 105 PA plateau; Jorge hit another home run; and Nick Swisher continued his torrid summer. He’s now hitting .268/.383/.455 on the season and has hit five home runs over his last eight games. Go get ’em tomorrow or whenever the next game is.
Saturday’s Double Header Postponed
The Yankees and Orioles have already postponed Saturday’s double header due to the looming hurricane. Instead, the Yanks and O’s will try for a Sunday double header with games at 1:35 p.m. and 7:35 p.m. The two teams will play one game on Monday, and the Orioles want to make up tomorrow’s game on Sept. 8 at 7:05 p.m. The Yankees have a West Coast road trip that begins the next day, and the team is going to fit this change tooth and nail. They should have played two today, but the Orioles seem intent on screwing over the Yanks one way or another.