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Archive for May 4th, 2010

No other words necessary…no one else’s words better.

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Tonight’s game was really a tale of two half innings. In the top of the third, AJ Burnett yielded an infield single and a walk before throwing Cesar Izturis’ sacrifice bunt down the right field line. With one run in, no outs and men on second and third, the stage was set for a Burnett implosion. Instead of caving in and losing his composure, however, Burnett responded by striking out the next three batters. More impressively, he recorded all three strikeouts with his curveball. In the past, Burnett has been prone to overthrowing when things don’t go his way, but this time he used the Baltimore batters’ aggressiveness against them.

Francisco Cervelli lays down a sacrifice bunt. Cervelli had an all around game that also included three hits, a tumbling catch and several blocked balls in the dirt (Photo: Getty Images)

Burnett’s Houdini act was vital for the Yankees because rookie Brian Matusz was pitching well against them. Unlike his last start, Matusz had much better command of his fastball and change-up, and therefore was able to keep the Yankee lineup off balance. Still, the Yankees were able to tie the score in the bottom of the third after Francisco Cervelli tripled and scored on Ramiro Pena’s groundout. In all fairness to Matusz, however, Adam Jones misplayed Cervelli’s liner, turning a single into a three-base hit.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Matusz faced his half inning of reckoning when a leadoff walk to Brett Gardner and bloop single by Cervelli set up a bunting situation. Just as Burnett did in the third, Matusz fielded the attempted sacrifice and then tossed into right field. Also like Burnett, Matusz was able to bear down. He next retired Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher on pop ups, but the rookie couldn’t seal the deal. Instead, he walked Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, which gave the Yankees a third run.

Once gifted with the lead, Burnett went right back to pounding the strike zone with his fastball. Even though he probably had his best curve of the year (five of his eight strikeouts were on curve balls), he still only threw it about 20% of the time (over the last two years, Burnett has thrown 30% curves). By being able to command the fastball, Burnett once again kept his pitch count low, which allowed him to once again pitch into the 8th inning. (more…)

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AJ Burnett and Brain Matusz hook up in yet another series rematch. Last time around, Burnett earned the victory with eight shutout innings, but Matusz pitched well in defeat. The Yankees can probably expect to see a better performance this time around.

The lineup features Derek Jeter’s first game as DH as well as Marcus Thames return to LF. Jorge Posada remains on the sidelines with his strained right calf. According to the Yankees, Posada remains day-to-day with Friday being an early target. Mariano Rivera, who is nursing a soar left side, also remains unavailable in today’s game. Rivera threw a bullpen session today without any discomfort, but Girardi’s initial plan is to give him one more day off (update: According to ESPN1050, Rivera is now available for tonights game).

To supplement the Yankees depleted roster, Greg Golson was promoted from Triple-A Scranton. Golson, a right handed hitting center fielder who will provide outfield depth, took the place of Mark Melancon.

vs. Brian Matusz PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter DH 7 0.429 0.429 0.429 0 0
Nick Swisher RF 6 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Mark Teixeira 1B 6 0.400 0.333 0.600 0 1
Alex Rodriguez 3B 6 0.200 0.167 0.400 0 1
Robinson Cano 2B 6 0.333 0.333 1.000 1 1
Marcus Thames LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Brett Gardner CF 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Francisco Cervelli C 3 0.333 0.333 0.333 0 0
Ramiro Pena SS 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 37 0.257 0.243 0.429 1 3
vs. AJ Burnett PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Adam Jones CF 27 0.231 0.231 0.423 1 4
Nick Markakis RF 41 0.297 0.341 0.351 0 3
Matt Weiters C 9 0.000 0.111 0.000 0 0
Miguel Tejada 3B 20 0.278 0.350 0.278 0 1
Ty Wiggington 2B 30 0.231 0.333 0.423 1 3
Luke Scott LF 22 0.333 0.455 0.778 2 4
Garrett Atkins DH 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Ryan Hughes 1B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Cesar Izturis SS 19 0.167 0.211 0.222 0 0
Total 168 0.245 0.304 0.384 4 15
  • A.J. Burnett is 10-2 lifetime with a 4.76 ERA against the Orioles.
  • Burnett is averaging 6 2/3 innings per start so far this season. Excluding Javier Vazquez, Yankees starters have averaged 6.715 innings per start.
  • Alex Rodriguez remains one HR behind Frank Robinson for 7th place on the all-time list, while Derek Jeter needs one 2B to bypass Don Mattingly for sole possession of third place on the franchise leader board.
  • The Yankees have won 23 of their last 29 games against the Orioles.

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Via Chad Jennings at the LoHud Yankees Blog,  Donnie Collins of the Times-Tribune is reporting that Scranton outfielder Greg Golson is in New York awaiting activation by the Yankees. Golson, a former first round draft pick by the Phillies in 2004, was acquired from the Texas Rangers during the off season. He has been playing mostly center field in Scranton, and has compiled a line of .253/.289/.430 in 84 PAs.  Golson’s main competition for the call up was Chad Huffman, the only other outfielder currently on the 40-man roster.  Should Golson not perform in his role, the Yankees could still turn to Huffman, or add David Winfree or Colin Curtis to the 40-man.

More important than the direct impact of Golson’s addition to the active roster is the Yankees decision to not promote a catcher. With Posada suffering from a strained calf, an easy solution would have been to swap out Mark Melancon with a catcher (likely Austin Romine), and then promote an outfielder if Posada needed to go on the DL. Unless Posada is going to be DL’ed before today’ s game, it would seem to indicate that the Yankees aren’t concerned by his injury.

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Last night’s game at Citizen Bank Ballpark turned into an episode of Law & Order when a 17-year old Phillies fan was tasered by a police officer after running on the field. Philadelphia has always been on the cutting edge of law enforcement at sporting events, so what better place to consider the appropriate use of force against fans who decide to trespass?

As much as we make light of fans who decide to run a few laps on the field, the act is still criminal (in this case, several crimes, including resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and defiant trespass). Unfortunately, there are several recent examples of trespassing fans with more than benign intentions. The 1994 stabbing of Monica Seles stands out the most, but baseball has had a few scary incident of its own over the past 10 years. The most notorious occurred on September 18, 2002, when Royals coach Tom Gamboa was assaulted by two fans at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Then, the next season, ironically during another Royals game in Chicago, umpire Laz Diaz was attacked by a fan. In both incidents, the fans were subdued by Royals players before something truly tragic occurred, but perhaps the next intended victim wont be so lucky.

Who is to say that the young man who ran on the field last night didn’t have bad intentions? Is it fair to ask police officers and security personnel to assume innocent motives from a trespasser fleeing apprehension? Just because the incident took place on a baseball field doesn’t mean law enforcement must amend what otherwise would be accepted conduct. Running on the field at a baseball game is a crime and should be treated as such. If tasering is part of a police department’s accepted code, it should also apply at the ballpark. Heck, at Yankee Stadium, police officers and security personnel beat the living daylights out of trespassers, so tasering is almost like getting off easy.

Perhaps, if we stop looking at running on the field as a prank and start punishing it like a crime, the number of incidents will decline. More importantly, we won’t be caught off guard when someone attempts an act more heinous.  A slight overreaction is always better than a tragic underestimation.

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