Going into last night’s game, the Yankees starting lineup had an OPS of 1.011 against Fausto Carmona, so there was no cause for concern about a lack of familiarity. As a result, one day after sleeping walking against rookie Josh Tomlin, the Yankees’ lumber awoke from its slumber, scoring seven runs on 10 hits in two-plus innings against the Indians’ veteran.
Starting with Alex Rodriquez’ RBI single in the first and ending with Robinson Cano’s 19th homerun in the fourth, the Yankees quickly built an 8-0 lead in the game and dispelled all doubt about the eventual outcome. The Yankees’ large lead allowed the attention of the game to shift back toward Arod’s pursuit of 600 homeruns, but once again, history was denied. Despite failing to go deep, Arod still managed to have a productive evening, which in addition to his run scoring single also included a humorous line drive double in the sixth that required the Yankees’ third baseman to make a slide that left him holding second base like a teddy bear.
Even though Arod’s pursuit of a milestone was once again denied, the only disappointment on the evening was the continued struggles of Derek Jeter. While everyone else joined in on the hit parade, the captain was held hitless in five at bats, although one out was the result of a fine running catch by Shin-Soo Choo, who seems do something impressive in every game.
Over the last few starts, a dark cloud has seemed to be following AJ Burnett around…both figuratively and literally. In two starts since cutting his hand on a clubhouse wall, Burnett has encountered lengthy rain delays. Unlike the storm in his last start, which truncated his outing to five innings, this time around Burnett had to deal with a pre-game disruption and a revised start time that was off the mark. According to the broadcast, Burnett wound up warming up too early, leading to speculation about how he would cope. The concern was unwarranted, however, as Burnett battled through six-plus scoreless innings before calling it a night.
The most encouraging thing about Burnett’s outing was he did not have great stuff or command (although his curve ball was sharp), but still persevered. The Indians had at least one base runner in every inning and forced Burnett to throw a lot of pitches, but instead of giving into frustration, the Yankees mercurial righty navigated through each jam without suffering damage. In a season in which Burnett has either been lights out or blown out, the gritty performance was a welcomed middle ground.
After Burnett’s exit with one out in the seventh, Joe Girardi then used the remainder of the game to help rehabilitate two wayward pitchers. Girardi first called on Joba Chamberlain to get the final two outs of the seventh before going to Sergio Mitre for the last six outs. This time last week, Chamberlain and Mitre were the “eighth inning guy” and “fifth starter”, respectively, so being called upon for mop-up duty further highlights their declining roles on the team.
- A.J. Burnett’s victory was his first in five career starts at Progressive Field.
- After a horrendous June, A.J. Burnett is now 3-1 with an ERA of 2.00 in July.
- In the six games since hitting homerun 599, Arod is batting .280/.333/.360 with 4 RBIs.