After pitching well all season, AJ Burnett finally had one of those games. Ironically, he looked very strong over the first two innings, and even seemed to have one of his better curve balls. It all fell apart in the third inning, however. With runners on second and third, Burnett jumped out ahead 0-2 on David Ortiz, but then proceeded to pitch around the plate until the count was 3-2. At that point, Burnett reverted back to being a thrower and Ortiz, who was cheating on the heat, made him pay. Perhaps he was frustrated by not using the off speed against Ortiz, but for whatever the reason, Burnett seemed to give up after allowing the RBI double to the struggling Big Papi. Before the smoke had cleared, Burnett gave up five runs in the third, or more than he had surrendered in any whole game this season.
The Yankees only sign of life came in the fourth inning when Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriquez both took John Lester over the Green Monster. Otherwise, the Yankees were swinging early and often against Lester, allowing the lefty to breeze through seven innings. A more patient approach probably wouldn’t have mattered much anyway because Burnett was never able to settle back into a rhythm. He gave up another run in the fourth and two more in the fifth before being lifted for the Yankee debut of reliever Romulo Sanchez. Albeit in mop up duty, Sanchez was impressive, exhibiting a mid-90s fastball as well as an effective curve and change. By pitching 3 2/3 scoreless innings, Sanchez not only helped save the bullpen, but may have also opened up some eyes.
Although Burnett’s implosion didn’t need any additional fuel, the left field play of Marcus Thames certainly added some. In the second inning, Thames dropped a line drive by Jeremy Hermida that allowed the first run of the game to score, and then later in the game, Thames was late retrieving two balls hit to left field, which ultimately contributed to two more runs. Coming into the game, Thames had a mind bogglingly low UZR/150 of -47.2, which would be hard to believe if you hadn’t watched him play. Without exaggeration, Thames has had a misplay in every single game he has played. At some point, Girardi needs to realize that Thames’ ability to hit lefties does not justify his awful defense in left field.
- Joe Girardi was ejected by home plate umpire Tim McClelland for arguing balls and strikes. Girardi came out to intervene on behalf of Marcus Thames, who was called out on strikes to end the top of the fourth inning.
- Alex Rodriquez’ fourth inning home run was the 586th of his career, tying Frank Robinson for seventh place on the all-time HR list. The long ball also snapped a 62 at bat homerless stretch dating back to April 20 in Oakland.
- Nick Swisher continued his hot hitting in the month of May. With his HR and single, Swisher is now batting .438/.486/.938 with 5 HRs and 14 RBIs in the month of May.
- AJ Burnett is now 0-3 with a 12.68 ERA in five starts at Fenway since joining the Yankees.
- Robinson Cano recorded his 14th multi-hit game of the season, which trails only Austin Jackson’s 15.