Yankees overcome Burnett, win opener vs. KC

2011 Draft: Yankees do not sign second rounder Sam Stafford
2011 Draft: Closing Thoughts

After a rain out on Sunday and a Monday morning filled with more rain, the Yankees and Royals were able to get the tarp off the field and play the first game of their three-game series. The Yankees scored a little early then a lot later on, surviving the inevitable A.J. Burnett meltdown in the meantime to secure the road-trip opening win.

This did not end well.

A Rally … Then A Mistake

Royals’ starter Felipe Paulino has been on a very nice run since being acquired from the Rockies earlier this year, but the Yankees made him work in the second. Nick Swisher led off the frame with a line drive to center that Melky Cabrera misplayed into a single, though it didn’t look like an easy play on television. That ball had some serious slice to it. Jorge Posada drew a four-pitch walk two batters later, and Brett Gardner delivered the big two-out hit two batters later to drive in Swish. Derek Jeter (more on him in a bit) drove in a run one batter later with a single, then Curtis Granderson walked to load the bases.

Paulino had thrown 30 pitches in the inning, which is the danger zone for any starter. Fatigue becomes a real factor no matter how well-conditioned these guys are, and the Yankees had one of the best power hitters in the game coming up with a chance to put this one to bed early. Paulino started Mark Teixeira off with fastball for a called strike, then got strike two on a changeup. A second straight changeup missed for ball two, and the third straight changeup bounced in the dirt and hopped away from rookie backstop Salvador Perez. Gardner broke for home, but the ball didn’t bounce that far away, and Perez recovered in time to apply the tag at the plate and end the inning.

Early last week we saw the Yankees end the game on a similarly stupid baserunning play, when Granderson got picked off first with the tying runs on base and Tex at the dish against the Angels. Obviously this wasn’t quite as bad, but it’s same principle: you’ve got to be 1,000% sure you’re going to make it, otherwise it’s not worth the risk given the guy at the plate. The ball didn’t get far enough away from the plate for Gardner to risk the play. I usually approve of aggressiveness, but there’s a time and place for stuff like that. The cleanup hitter up with the bases loaded is not one of those times.


Predictable Meltdown Is Predictable

Burnett starts are like a bad movie at this point, the same thing over and over. He’ll go four or five strong innings, look downright dominant at times, then cough up whatever lead he’s been given in one fell swoop. After pitching around three baserunners in the second and two baserunners in the fourth, the Royals put together a bases loaded rally with one in the fifth. All three singles were ground balls through the right side, and it’s actually kinda surprising they were unable to score a run on the third consecutive hit.

We were all kind of waiting for it at this point. We all knew the knockout hit was going to come, the lead would be gone, and Burnett would still be starting in five days. With former Yankee Melky Cabrera at the dish, there was no one better to make things happen. Melky swung at the first two pitches he saw and three of the first four, but A.J.’s last three offerings were out of the zone for a bases loaded walk. The Melkman had walked exactly once (once!) after falling behind 0-2 this year, and his walk rate was a miniscule 4.9% coming into the game. Of course Burnett would walk him with the bases loaded, of course he would.

Billy Butler, the next batter, delivered the big blow, taking a 1-1 changeup to right for a two-run single that completely erased the Yankees 2-1 lead and turned it into a 3-2 deficit. Robinson Cano turned a sweet double play one batter later to end the inning and save another run, but the damage had already been done. The lead was gone, Burnett did his little “four or five strong innings, then a meltdown” routine. Typical. Someone put it best on Twitter, watching his starts are like watching five or six innings of Kyle Farnsworth (not the 2011 version, the 2006-2008 version).

Jeterian triple.

Zombie Captain

Jeter ain’t dead yet folks. He can be a little knuckle-headed, like in the first inning when he bunted Gardner to second after the leadoff guy took Paulino’s first pitch of the game to the foot (don’t you have to wait for the starter to throw his first strike before volunteering an out?), but the Cap’n’s bat has come back from the dead since coming off the disabled list. He clubbed a 1-1 changeup from Paulino the other way for a two-run triple in the sixth, turning a 3-3 tie into a 5-3 lead. At .218 WPA, it was biggest play of the game.

Since coming off the disabled list on Independence Day, Jeter has hit .319/.373/.449 in 154 plate appearances. Vintage Derek hit for a tad more power, but after his previous 1,000 PA or so, I’m not complaining. Jeter’s revival has been refreshing to say the least.


Boone Logan replaced Burnett with a man on first and two outs in the sixth inning, and he recorded an out without even throwing a pitch. He picked Johnny Giavotella off first to end the inning. That’s always fun. Boone came back out in the seventh to face the guy he was brought in to face, the rookie Mike Moustakas, and he struck him out on three pitches. Seventh Inning Guy™ Rafael Soriano got the final two outs of the inning, but not before allowing a two-out walk and double to allow a run. It’s the first run he’s allowed since coming off the disabled list.

One odd thing that I noticed … well, that everyone noticed because they pointed it out on YES, but Jeter stopped Burnett on his way off the mound after being lifted and said something to him. It looked to be words of encouragement, because Burnett didn’t look upset or anything like that. Anyway, that’s only noteworthy because Jeter almost never does anything like that. Now my curiosity is piqued.

Eighth Inning Guy™ David Robertson allowed a ground ball single in an otherwise uneventful inning, and Mariano Rivera emerged from the ashes of WWWMW™ Week to throw a perfect ninth. He got a weak grounder to first, a grounder to second (Jeter fielded it behind the bag), and a strikeout looking. He also broke a bat, sawed the lefty swinging Moustakas’ stick right in half. Basically, it was vintage Rivera. Yawn.

Gardner, Jeter, Cano, and Swisher all had multiple hits, while Jorge Posada, pinch-hitter Andruw Jones, and Russell Martin had one each. Jones drove in an insurance run in the seventh will a well-placed looper, but when you’re hot, you’re hot. He’s hitting .371/.476/.686 since the All-Star break. Granderson didn’t pick up any knocks but he did walk twice. Eric Chavez had the eye sore batting line, 0-for-5 with three whiffs.

The win moved the Yankees into a tie with the Red Sox for first place in the AL East. The two clubs have identical 73-46 records, but the Yankees have a 35 run advantage in run differential. Their lead in the wildcard is a full nine games, which is a freaking ton.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other wacky stuff, and ESPN the updated standings.

Up Next

Same two teams again Tuesday evening, when Ivan Nova will look for redemption against the Royals and fellow rookie Danny Duffy. Remember, Kansas City was the team behind Nova’s worst start of the season back in May.

2011 Draft: Yankees do not sign second rounder Sam Stafford
2011 Draft: Closing Thoughts
  • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

    It’s gotten to the point where I feel bad for Burnett. I know he’s not really feeling any pain with his big contract and all, but to be run out there every five days and consistently suck must feel pretty bad.

    Also, Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies >>>>>> rest of baseball. Right? I mean, a nine-game WC lead on 8/15? Jesus.

    • Phife Dawg

      The Braves probably deserve some love too (their pitching is just as good as Philly, NYY or Boston)but yeah it’s basically a 3 or 4 team race at this point.

      The Giants are rapidly free-falling as we speak.

      • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

        You can’t ignore those Brewers.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          That’s a scary team in a short series. Big offense, Greinke + Marcum + Gallardo, then Saito + K-Rod + Axford.

          • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

            Their only real weakness is being terrible on the road. When they came to YS3 they looked like the Astros.

        • FIPster Doofus

          My preseason World Series pick. I haven’t changed my mind.

      • Avi

        Hamles went for an MRI on his shoulder – uh oh..
        I hope he’s fine for next winter when we’ll sign him.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          if he’s out the Phillies are fucked


        • FIPster Doofus

          He’s going through a dead arm period, allegedly.

    • Joel

      Personally, I don’t think he feels bad. He knows who and what he is. He’s pitching basically like he always does, and he’s getting paid an insane amount of money to do so.

    • Joel

      I really don’t think that AJ feels bad going out there every 5th day. Why? The guy is basically the same pitcher he’s always been. No better, no worse. For a .500 pitcher, the guy has some payday. He made the system work in his favor.

  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

    That is one of the more interesting looking WPA graphs of the year.

    • Phife Dawg

      It looks like a baseball simulation of Kingda Ka.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    Referring to Nova’s worst start of the season against the Royals; when Amauri Sanit and Buddy Carlyle are the two guys to follow you, you know you’ve had a rough night at the office.

  • ItsATarp

    I think we’re short changing AJ here a bit (yes weird i know). in the 5th first hit sneaked past the infield, second hit was right through the hole in a perfect hit and run and third hit was a ground ball between cano and tex…3 perfectly placed grounders. The Melky walk was bad, i’ll give you that but the Butler AB Butler basically went and got a ball down and away, certainly not a meatball or a terrible pitch for that matter. This is one of the rare occasions where i agree with Matt on something. The “implosion” in retrospect wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be. A bit of AJ ball behind of the count but also a bit of BABIP’d. Off course you could say AJ should have dominated the Royal lineup, but that’s a whole another story.

    • Will

      Good points. Also notable is that if Moustakis isn’t running on the pitch, Escobar’s single is likely an inning ending DP and AJ is through 5 with no runs allowed on about 55 pitches.

      Another thing: the bases loaded walk kinda sucked, but I don’t think it was the worst decision to try and get Melky Cabrera to try and chase out of the zone after he was down 0-2. That, and especially the Butler single, were examples of good hitting rather than bad pitching.

    • Len S.

      The Royals do seem to have a good offense statistically.

    • MattG

      The pitch to Butler was bad. That change-up was preceded by two fastballs in the same spot. If you throw the change-up there, the intent is to get it lower, so it looks like a fastball and he swings over the top. I know it was at the knees, but the two pitches before it were at the knees too, therefore, in context, that pitch was up. Bad pitch.

      See–he threw a bad pitch! Put him in teh bullpen!!

  • Rich in NJ

    Tonight’s performance is exactly why AJ could do well in the pen. More importantly, if used correctly (i.e., low leverage situations), he can hurt a team far less there.

    It is great to see Jeter be productive again. I had expected a bounce back season (2012 and beyond concern(ed) me), but I certainly didn’t expect the resurgence to take place at midseason.

    • Dan

      I think AJ could be a dominant relief pitcher. His fastball will probably add a few MPH to it and top out around 96-97, that with his curve as a pretty good outpitch should make him a great reliever. I think the biggest reason why AJ tends to struggle after 4-5 innings is he really only has two pitches, so hitters start to zone in on the fastball or curve. He hardly uses any other pitches than his fastball and curveball and when he does use them it is just to get hitters off his fastball or curve.

  • ADG

    another mediocre AJ start when he doesn’t give his team much of a chance to win. So a question to all my fellow RABers; Who would you rather have on this roster right at this moment?

    A. Carl Pavano, getting paid a ton but he’s
    injured and not pitching for the rest of the season.


    B. AJ getting paid a ton to pitch and sucking

    • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

      B, and it’s not even close.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Obviously B, but that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Carl Pavano getting paid a ton and not pitch. It at least gives guys who deserve a rotation spot a chance to start.
      Ex: Phil fuckin’ Hughes.

      • ADG

        same. with the other options on the team right now AJ has close to no value

      • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

        That’s circumstantial. When evaluating something like this you must be pretty objective in your analysis. AJ Burnett, while terrible, provides a modicum of value simply by virtue that he pitches innings. Pavano provides an absolute zero of value when he’s sitting on the bench.

        The idea that AJ Burnett’s value is degraded because of Phil Hughes is ludicrous.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          How is it when Phil Hughes is better? It’s ludicrous to think that you’d rather have a pitcher stinking it up every time out then have someone else (Phil Hughes) step in and pitch. Essentially, you’re saying that A.J Burnett is better than Phil Hughes. Now that’s ludicrous.

          • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

            AJ Burnett and Phil Hughes have pretty much showed the same this season. I’m not going to say one’s better than the other, really.

            Now, the key difference is that Burnett’s really not getting any better. Hughes, on the other hand, has his best days ahead of him. But that’s not what this is about. The question was, who would you rather have on this roster, and the answer’s AJ. A man sitting on your roster providing a constant zero value is way less valuable than a guy who at least pitches innings, Hughes be damned.

            • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

              Phil Hughes vs A.J Burnett since July 6th (Hughes’ return)
              Hughes: 3-3, 4.27, 9.9 H/9, 2.94 BB/9, 6.7 K/9. 6 starts, 4 quality

              Burnett: 1-2, 5.97, 11.5 H/9, 3.98 BB/9, 8.85 K/9. 7 starts, 0, yes ZERO quality
              He’s got him beat in K/9, but that’s it.

              Besides the reason why i’m comparing Hughes to him is because if I had an injured Carl Pavano on my team Hughes would be the replacement. So essentially you have to compare those two. And you’re right, Burnett does have value. He has almost negative value. He blows almost every lead. He looks great at times and he fails. And like Mike said during his recap, you are pretty much waiting for the Burnett implosion. And obviously i’m comparing these two since July 6th, Hughes return from the DL, because you can’t count those first three starts, he was injured. Let’s see how Burnett does with a dead arm.

              • Chuck

                Hughes showed up fat and out of shape… dont even get started with the innings load.. AJ may be a head case but as of today I would take AJ’s season over Phil Hughes. I also have memories of AJ doing well in 09’s postseason.. last years post season his start was better than any of Phil’s.. He still lost but 6 innings 5 runs is surmountable. Phil who is young, helped the yanks look old and overmatched on their way out.

                And AJ’s stats are definitely skewed from that white sox shelling in that comparison above. CC got shelled by the Sox. It happens. He pitched a few decent winnable games in the last few months.. His major flaw is giving runs back when he gets them.

                Hughes looks good now, but AJ has some value.

                • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                  Actually, Phil’s starts are skewed from that A’s shelling. So they even out. Even if I take those numbers out he’ll still have better numbers.

              • Sayid J.

                You absolutely have to count Hughes’ first three starts. As you said, if the Yankee’s had Pavano instead of Burnett, how would they have fared? Well, they would’ve received 3 awful starts in April from Hughes, followed by 3 months of a replacement pitcher (let’s call him… Hector Noesi), followed by his post-July stats. I much rather have Burnett than that scenario.

                • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                  no i don’t. he was out of shape and had a dead arm. Let’s see how Burnett does with a dead arm. So for now, I can’t. Besides, if you actually watch the games you know he’s a better pitcher since then.

  • Avi

    It’s absolutely shocking to me that after 119 games the Yanks have the same record as the Red Sox. Amazing.

    • David N

      Not that shocking in and of itself, but if you’d told me that they’d be 2-10 against Boston and still be tied, I’d have looked at you a bit weird.

      • Hank

        The unfortunate/scary thing….

        A mere 6-6 split and the Yankees would have an 8 game lead right now…

        heck even a 5-7 record would be a 6 game lead….

      • Klemy

        Exactly, this. It’s crazy to have such a one sided record and still be tied with them.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ngoral Jake LaMotta’s Left Hook

    Joe was right, Mo would break a bat the week after he struggled.

  • ADG

    whoops sorry replying from my iPhone and it’s being screwy

  • brian g

    i don’t know if giving up three runs in an inning is an implosion. it’s not really a regular thing in the majors to keep an offense scoreless. i think some other guys would “have grinded there way to a win” in some people’s eyes. i’m not sure AJ is the best pitcher but the constant whipping of him is tedious from all sides. he’s pitching okay. the yankees are winning……time to stop whining.

    • Hank

      Hughes gave up 9 hits and a walk to SEA over 6IP and most termed it a successful outing (2 runs allowed and only because Gardner nailed someone at the plate to prevent a huge inning). This mind you is a team with a chance at being the worst offensive team of the last 50 years…. and the outing was considered decent (some even said successful)

      AJ gives up 10 hits and a walk and gets one less out against a superior offensive team (compared to SEA) and it is disappointing and “typical AJ”

      At this point perception and momentum is driving this story and the language and adjectives being used. Not saying AJ pitched well but this growing performance gap that people think exist between AJ and Hughes is getting a bit absurd.

      • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

        At first I was like “man you trollin'” but, um, actually yeah. All of this.

      • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

        I don’t think it’s a growing performance gap so much as it’s we know what we’re getting from AJ (mediocre-to-poor starts), while Hughes has been consistently improving since coming off the DL. No one thinks Hughes is great right now, but we’re talking about the 5th starter here.

        At least that’s how it is to me.

      • David, Jr.

        Jesse just gave a complete set of stats between Hughes and Burnett since Phil’s return. It illustrates the performance gap that you deny exists.

        • Will

          So…Hughes has had a decent if lucky (hello peripherals) month, while AJ has had a decent if unlucky month (again, hello peripherals). Your point?

        • Hank

          69 flyballs, 2HR’s allowed….

          Has Phil Hughes mastered the ability of not giving up HR’s on flyballs? Or is he heading for significant regression?

          The major league average is ~10% and no pitcher has shown the ability to deviate more than a couple % over a significant period of time.

          And this is just one problem with ERA over this type of sample size…. what if hughes gave up the expected HR rate? (which would put him at 7 HR’s allowed instead of 2) Tack on 5 solo HRs… that adds 1.25 to his ERA. What if 2 of those aren’t solo shots…. now we’re talking about 2 runs on his ERA. And “quality” starts… AJ was yanked 3 times 1 out away from a “quality” start during this arbitrary stretch of games and yanked 2 outs away another time…. would he have gotten them? Who knows, but 1 out is really a significant difference?(or a function of how the manager perceives him)

          I know the results are the results… but if you want to look forward you have to regress the #’s being thrown out as evidence of some sort of significant difference. Normally stuff would even out…. over 35 innings? Not so sure…. (xFIP suggests no meaningful difference)

          Not saying AJ’s pitched better… just this gap between the two is nowhere near as big as people are portraying it.

          • David, Jr.

            It isn’t a huge gap at all. It is a minor gap, but it is in favor of a 25 yr old with some upside. What it comes down to is which of the two would you rather have starting an important playoff game. For me, that would be Hughes.

  • Kevin

    AJ got a Lackey win tonight. That means the offense basically overcame another bad performance by him.

    • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

      When Lackey is bad he gives up like eight runs in two innings (AJ is capable of that too, but this year he’s been kind of consistently blah as opposed to outright awful).

    • Will

      3 ER in 5.2 is not a bad performance, especially for a team with the Yankees’ offense. If Hughes had pitched that game, this board would be full of comments crowning him the next ace.

  • Hank

    Regular season game, righty 9th place hitter who can’t hit up and a good hitting lefty up after that.

    I know Girardi is contractually obligated to use 7th inning guy unless there is a platoon advantage… but don’t you leave Logan in against the weak hitting righty and he then gets to face another good hitting lefty? (and historically Soriano’s splits show a significant dropoff against lefties)

    I understand the move in the postseason, but with a bunch of games in a row, maybe you don’t burn both setup guys and eke out the inning with Logan, in a fairly favorable setup (weak hitting righty, another lefty)

    The issue now is if/when any of the big 3 get used tomorrow, then you have availability issues the following day (the three day in a row Girardi rule). Girardi is a slave to the formula (especially after an off day), but is it possible for him to think 2-3 days ahead and maybe pick some spot where he doesn’t have to robotically rely on the formula? If say he gets 7 innings tomorrow, he can use the setup guy who was off today and then both are available the following day (and one can even close if Mariano also works tomorrow).

  • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

    Even when the Royals were winning, it felt like they were losing.

    Anyway, I am beginning to believe that Burnett might have an age-related endurance issue. All pitchers, as we know, have a their own limitations when it comes to how many pitches they throw before they start sucking at it. Take a guy like Nolan Ryan, who as we know could basically pitch for forever from the day he picked up a baseball to the day he retired. Then look at Pedro Martinez, who, as great as he was, always seemed to be a bit short-throwing for a pitcher of his prowess.

    Imagine it to an extreme. AJ Burnett is a starting with the clinical inability to get through five good innings. Perhaps he has “used up his bullets” as they say. His ERA this year is good in April, okay in May and June, bad in July and atrocious in August. His FIP doesn’t entirely back this up, just as a note – in fact, this month he has a FIP of 4.65, pretty good.

    A notable thing about Burnett is how he was an injury-plagued pitcher before joining the Yankees. Now, for the first time in his career, assuming he finishes this season, he will have finished four consecutive seasons with 30 starts or more. It’s not inconceivable that this much pitching has put a toll on Burnett.

    Since 2007, Burnett’s average velocity has been declining steadily both within and without the season. You can see this in a graph here: http://www.fangraphs.com/fgraphs/512_P_1_20110809.png

    In short, this all relates back to the post a while back about “Transitioning Burnett to the Bullpen for the Right Reasons”. Well, this is the right reason (it was probably mentioned anyway, so excuse me if I’m just repeating an earlier idea). He does not, and has not, had the endurance to be a real starter for about a full year now. Indeed, it is Burnett, not Hughes, with the dying arm.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      I completely agree with you. On my blog (click my handle) I wrote about how his stuff is declining.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      A lot of good points.

  • Brian S.

    Burnett stayed away from the extra base hit today, and a lot of the hits he gave up were groundballs that found holes. Hopefully he can build upon this.

    • jsbrendog

      herm edwards style


      but seriously, aj wasnt bad

  • nick

    yeah i remember that nova start. i was there. Sean O’Sullivan has won two blowout starts against the Yankees and ive been to both of them

  • Chris

    “Eric Chavez had the eye sore batting line, 0-for-5 with three whiffs.”

    Call up Montero!!!

    • mbonzo

      We have 15 more days, we should put a countdown on the site.
      “Countdown to Judgment Day. 15 days until Jesus rises from Scranton, PA.”

      • MattG

        Yeah, but, I hope the Yankees know what loophole they are exposing that will allow Montero to be eligible for the post-season. I can’t see a post-season roster with Posada and without Montero.

        • jsbrendog

          montero could stay in aaa and not be brought up in september and be added to the post season roster. there are currently 3 position players who will end the season on the 60dl. as tsjc put it yesterday they could each be replaced by montero with the stroke of a pen at anytime

          • MattG

            OK then! No rush. Let him find the groove in AAA.

            While I think most will agree Montero should be on the post-season roster ahead of Posada, the chances that happens are?? With 5 bench players, they probably both make it.

  • Jonathan

    What a great game to attend to. Easily the coolest (temp) August game i’ve gone to in KC in my entire life. Picked up David Cone/Robbie/Reggie’s autographs before the game then watched a great game. The 4 old men sitting next to me thought I was some sort of a baseball guru when I told them AJ will look dominant for 4 or 5 innings and then all of a sudden start hanging curves and walking people for a total implosion while nobody warms up in the pen. Little did they know that every Yankee fan paying attention this year knows the script by heart.

    I really needed a good win since the rain totally bufued me. I was supposed to get Nova/Colon/CC and now I get AJ/Nova/Colon. Replacing watching CC with AJ isn’t exactly a win. Then you add in that ARod’s date has been pushed back from the earliest Monday to the earliest Thursday and those are rough breaks when you get to see the Yankees live 3 games a year. Still should be a fun series. It also really shows you how lucky you are to be a Yankee fan. Almost every other team doesn’t even have a handful of players worth getting an autograph of but when your TV guy (Cone) and random legend on the field (Reggie Jackson) and bench of Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones are better than most of the leagues top players when it comes to autographs it’s extremely lucky. There are about 15-17 guys worth getting signed out of the 25 man active roster.

    And Mike, the ball Melky misplayed knucked on him really really bad. If you’ve ever had that done to you while trying to catch a line drive it’s really tough.

  • Kiko Jones

    Re – Gardner breaking for home on the WP:
    I usually approve of aggressiveness, but there’s a time and place for stuff like that. The cleanup hitter up with the bases loaded is not one of those times.

    My thoughts exactly.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    Games with the KC Royals these days are not the same as the George Brett and Frank White era as some of you guys may know.

    AJ was facing a lineup that was comprised of 5 guys who were in triple AAA a month ago, Sure those guys can hit especially a pitcher who is struggling. This is my point having view the stats given to us by Jesse and Hughes assignment to the bullpen. Is an indication that we will have to endure AJ for 2+ seasons and his inability to pitch better than 5 2/3 against a team who is mailing it in right after the All Star break. I take nothing from his start. The guy gave up ten hits and recorded 17 outs. He’s so inconsistent that he can’t be used in the bullpen. I don’t believe there is any fix for this guy. The Yankees over the winter will have to come to a decision about him. Do we keep or give him away?

    • Jim S

      I don’t think it’s fair to say the Royals are mailing it in. Especially given that you had just said that they are playing 5 guys who were in triple A a month ago. Why would new major leaguers mail in anything? And if you’d read the series preview you’d realize that not only can the Royals hit a struggling pitcher, they can hit basically all pitchers this year.

      Your overall point about AJ is fine, but don’t take anything away from the Royals or create narratives where there are none.

      • Tim

        But he has to create narratives. It’s AJ. Everybody is contractually obligated to hate him. Don’t you know that by now?

        Tonight, when Nova gives up 3 runs in 6 innings of work and the Yankees win 10-3, the thread will be full of posters crowning him the #2 starter in the playoffs. It will be delightful.

        • Kilgore Trout

          Ivan Nova has a sub 4 ERA in the AL East, sir. That’s pretty good, especially as a rookie. AJ Burnett’s ERA over the past 2 years? 5+

          You do the math.

          • David, Jr.


        • Jim S

          I wasn’t so much defending AJ as saying that the idea of the Royals mailing it in is ridiculous.

      • LarryM.,Fl.

        A team is mailing it in which means the organization. They would not have 4/5 former AAA players regularly if they had not given up on the season. I did not mean that the kids were not trying. I not creating any stories but indicating the obvious. Also I have no dislike for AJ but just indicating the obvious just look at the back of his baseball card. He’s a .500 pitcher whether he’s making 2 million or 16 million its Yankee money not mine. I’m being objective with his ability to win or go long in games.

        • Jim S

          But what you claim is obvious is objectively not obvious. The Royals are a much better team with the youth they’ve brought up, they didn’t have a plan A that involved veterans or high priced FAs. This IS their plan A, which is part of their ultimate goal of being a contender. Just because a team isn’t going anywhere this year doesn’t mean they mailed in the season.

          We have very different definitions of mailing it in. The Astros are mailing it in, the Royals are definitively not.

          • LarryM.,Fl.

            First, I thank you for replying to my response about the Royals. OK, I agree this is their plan A to be a contender. They have a rich farm system becuase of good scouting and poor finishes. This leads to rich farm systems. I’m of the opinion that this present Royal team as it is constructed with some of their best talent. Is not on this field to win the division or the WC. It is there to see if what pieces of the team need to go or stay and the moves to improve over the winter. Didn’t they get off to a great start with different players out of ST? Did they not make changes to the starting positional players after they came tumbling back to earth in the Central. I agree the players are not mailing it in but the front office has IMHO. Bottom line AJ should have given a better account of himself. He can’t be trusted in the bullpen unless he starts and inning. Do I want to see him pitch better, Hell yeah. I prefer Hughes getting some starts in his place.

            • Jim S

              “I prefer Hughes getting some starts in his place.”

              On that point, we agree.

              • LarryM.,Fl.

                Go Yanks!

  • mt

    Great win – somehow I feel giddy about this win – AJ breaks his 2011 winless streak and his Yankee career August winless streak. Best of all, we actually win a game in spite of AJ mini-meltdown by scoring runs after Paulino had been keeping runners from scoring in the earlier innings.

    The thing that was encouraging is that Royals were hitting ground ball singles and not pounding the ball – AJ was not pounded. But sometimes you just wish AJ could take it on his back and get out of these messes all by himself with a dominant strikeout or pop-up(not have to always rely on others, like Swisher good sliding play to keep runners from advancing and then Cano briliant double play) – perfect example – letting Melky off the hook after an 0-2 count (especially when third ball was nearly airmailed for a wild pitch). Now I see from the writeup how woeful Cabrera has been in those situations all year and of course AJ just cannot find a way to get through it.

    But I will be happy for small favors – we won a game that AJ started.

    I normally don’t like to nitpick Giradi but I have to reiterate the point above about use of Logan – Logan had only thrown four pitches so why bring in Soriano? Do we now always have to use Soriano and Robertson and Rivera in same game? Maybe – perish the thought – Logan could have finished seventh after striking out Moustakas and Soriano, since he had warmed up, could have pitched eighth and then either Mo (if save was pending) or Robertson/Wade could have been used (depending on margin). So we would have used Soriano/Robertson or Soriano/Rivera or Soriano/Wade, not SoRoMo. I do agree – with rain-out, everyone in bullpen is rested but we have so many games coming up that a little flexibility would have been nice especially when Gordon, the lefty, was the big threat in that inning.

    Just wish Joe would be a little more flexible. I think it is ridiculous to bring in Soriano to face ninth place hitter Escobar right before Gordon. Logan is already in game with only four pitches.

  • Bronx Byte

    No change. Burnett is still nothing more than a shaky No. 6 starter regardless of how Cashman tries to defend the bad signing.
    It’s the reason why Burnett belongs in the bullpen. He [might] give a decent inning ot two but once a team sees him for the 2nd or 3rd time through the lineup he predictably implodes.
    No comfort level with the guy.

  • ADam

    I am very excited to see how they defend this start from AJ and defend that he is the 5th best starter on the staff… Hell this guy is not the 5th or 6th best pitcher in the Organization….. maybe 7th or 8th….

  • Kilgore Trout

    Say what you want about AJ but he kept us in the ballgame and got us the W. Another gutty performance by AJ Burnett.

    Above is what the anti Nova and anti Hughes people are saying, trying to say well AJ Burnett ain’t that bad. If the best thing you can say about him is he ain’t that bad he’s garbage. Hughes and Nova have both outpitched him. It’s time we give the kids a chance and stop mismanaging them.

  • MattG

    Look at that picture. Gardner and the catcher are nearly equidistant from the plate, but Gardner has far more momentum and quickness. Yet the catcher beats him?

    Gardner slid too early, and he needs to start sliding feet first. I would like to see what the catcher would do if there are metal spikes flying at him in that spot.

    Gardner’s got great speed, but I don’t think he’s got especially good instincts, or is an especially good baserunner.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Whaaaat? The catcher’s glove (with the ball) is in the batter’s box while Gardner is still a good 4-5 feet up the line. It’s not that surprising he beat him to the plate.

      • MattG

        1. He doesn’t need to beat him to the center of the plate. He needed to beat him to the farthest third base edge of the plate. Maybe I overstated the equidistant a bit, but it’s very close to even, and Gardner has all that momentum.

        2. I invite you to go back to the replay from directly down the third base line. You can see how dramatically Gardner’s slide slows him down. His had comes down on the outside edge of the batters box, still three feet from home plate. Isn’t the point to have your hand land on the plate, not three feet in front of it? If he takes one more stride and slides feet first, he is safe. I am certain of this.

        • JohnnyC

          Similar to stealing home, Gardner should have slid feet first. Beyond slowing himself down, he risked getting his hands injured…pretty important for a guy who played through a wrist injury last year (and hit sub-optimally because of that).

    • Monteroisdinero

      I agree. The only time I see Brettsky slide feet first is into the foul line wall in the outfield. He could have seriously hurt his left hand sliding into the plate. I am not so troubled by the hustle play early in the game with 2 outs and up by 2 though. Perez made a perfect play.

    • Foghorn Leghorn

      do you know what the word “Equidistant” means? Gardner is more than twice the distance from home plate as the catcher…

      • Ben S

        Did anyone else see that Gardner actually knocked the ball out of the catcher’s glove for a second? I feel like I’m the only one who saw it, but watch the replay very carefully, he drops it and then picks it back up very quickly.

  • Dan

    Hey Mike,
    I am not sure if you watched the postgame, but I believe AJ was asked about what Jeter said to him and I think he said it was something about how he could see something in AJ’s pitches. I forgot exactly what he said, but if you can find the postgame interview with AJ it should have what Jeter said to him.

    • Dan

      Burnett’s comment: “I asked him to keep an eye on my hand, because I feel at times the way I set, maybe a runner at second can see my grip,” Burnett said. “I made a conscious effort to turn my glove in a little bit. That’s what I had him keep an eye on, and he said he never saw a thing.”

      • Cuso

        Hmm. It must have been late. I remember his comments being a bit different.

        I’m sure you’re right and I probably wasn’t paying close enough attention. But I thought that Burnett indicated that Jeter went to him of his own volition as he was exiting the game and mentioned that he WAS tipping something.

        I’m sure they’ll address it in pre-game.

        • StanfordBen

          If Jeter noticed that he was tipping his pitches, why would he wait until AJ exited to tell him? But anyway, I guess we’ll find out in the pregame or if someone writes something about it.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    good game by Burnett imo, he produced a ton of ground balls (all but 2 hits were ground balls if I’m not wrong) but of course BABIP wasn’t on his side again. Hard to blame him when no groundballs find gloves.

  • Eric

    GARDNER WAS SAFE AT HOME! Am I the only one who saw the ball laying on the ground after he tried to tag him? The catcher picks up the ball from the ground and shows it to the umpire. If the ball comes out while applying a tag the runner is SAFE!

  • Cuso

    Regarding your curiosity being piqued, Mike:

    AJ said in postgame that Jeter had mentioned in that exchange that he noticed AJ was tipping his pitches when there were runners on second base.

    Regarding the “time and a place for aggressiveness” with Gardner:

    A 2-0 lead seems like an appropriate time. It didn’t pan out. But I’m not gonna begrudge him that mistake. The Grandy example is far different from last night’s home plate foul-up.