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Archive for August 10th, 2010

vs. CJ Wilson PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 12 0.400 0.500 0.700 1 2
Nick Swisher RF 19 0.333 0.474 0.667 1 5
Marcus Thames DH 6 0.333 0.333 0.333 0 0
Alex Rodriguez 3B 14 0.000 0.286 0.000 0 0
Austin Kearns LF 3 0.000 0.333 0.000 0 0
Lance Berkman 1B 12 0.273 0.333 0.364 0 4
Francisco Cervelli C 4 0.500 0.500 0.500 0 1
Brett Gardner CF 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Ramiro Pena 2B 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 72 0.267 0.361 0.417 2 12
             
vs. AJ Burnett PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Elvis Andrus SS 10 0.250 0.400 0.250 0 0
Michael Young 3B 31 0.267 0.290 0.400 1 1
Josh Hamilton CF 16 0.286 0.375 0.643 1 3
Vladimir Guerrero DH 49 0.222 0.286 0.444 2 3
Nelson Cruz RF 13 0.111 0.385 0.444 1 3
David Murphy LF 17 0.286 0.412 0.286 0 0
Jorge Cantu 1B 12 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 2
Bengie Molina C 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Christian Guzman 2B 5 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 155 0.209 0.271 0.367 5 12

 

Yankees vs. Rangers    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 3-0 NYY: 5-4 TEX: 4-3 NYY: 356-244

.

  Last 10 Last 20 Last 30
Yankees 4-6 11-9 19-11
Rangers 5-5 12-8 16-14

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  Road vs. LHP
Yankees 37-20 22-16
  Home vs. RHP
Rangers 36-21 44-32
  • Derek Jeter needs one hit to join Mel Ott in 38th place on the all-time list. When Jeter passes Ott, he will become the all-time hits leader for any New York team.
  • Mark Teixeira is not in the lineup because he attended the birth of his son William Charles Teixeira.
  • Robinson Cano is out of the lineup because he is suffering from the effects of a cold.
  • Marcus Thames has batted .220/.283/.513 with12 HRs and 32 RBIs in 166 plate appearances batting in the third slot.
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Some of AJ Burnett's outings this season have been tough to swallow.

Charles Dickens would have been a big fan of A.J. Burnett because when the enigmatic righty takes the mound you can bet it’s going to be an evening of contradictions.

Over at the ESPN Stats blog, Albert Larcada and Katie Sharp and presented some striking numbers that illustrate Burnett’s tale of two seasons. In his wins, Burnett is sporting a league leading ERA of 0.74, but in his losses, his ERA is a league worst 12.17 (among pitchers with at least five decisions). Quite literally, there has been no “in between” for Burnett.

Sometimes ERA can be misleading, especially when dissecting samples into wins and losses. However, breaking Burnett’s starts down by game score reveals a similar trend.  Burnett ranks second in the America League in starts with a game score of 40 or lower, but at the same cracks the top-15 with eight outings that had a game score of 60 or greater. No wonder the running joke among Yankees fans when Burnett starts is to ask whether the “Good AJ” or “Bad AJ” will show up.

Starts with a Game Score of 40 or Lower, American League Year-to-Date

Player Games   W L ERA
Brian Bannister 10 Ind. Games 0 10 10.46
Ryan Rowland-Smith 8 Ind. Games 0 8 11.38
Justin Masterson 8 Ind. Games 0 8 10.57
Scott Kazmir 8 Ind. Games 0 8 11.97
A.J. Burnett 8 Ind. Games 0 8 13.5
Brad Bergesen 8 Ind. Games 0 8 9.49

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Although Burnett has had an incredibly frustrating season, his reputation for being wildly inconsistent really isn’t deserved. Last season, Burnett had 14 starts with a game score of 60 or more, which ranked ninth in the AL, but only turned in five stinkers with a game score of 40 or below. In fact, Burnett had fewer implosions than C.C. Sabathia (6) and Andy Pettitte (10).

Starts with a Game Score of 40 or Lower, 2009 Yankees

Player Games   W L ERA
Andy Pettitte 10 Ind. Games 2 5 8.01
Joba Chamberlain 10 Ind. Games 1 4 9.07
CC Sabathia 6 Ind. Games 0 5 9.38
A.J. Burnett 5 Ind. Games 0 3 13.1

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Starts with a Game Score of 60 or Higher, 2009 Yankees

Player Games   W L ERA
CC Sabathia 17 Ind. Games 14 1 1.35
A.J. Burnett 14 Ind. Games 8 3 1.49
Andy Pettitte 10 Ind. Games 6 0 1.56
Joba Chamberlain 7 Ind. Games 5 0 1.48

Source: Baseball-reference.com

So, why has Burnett developed a reputation for being so unreliable? Again, the answer lies at the extremes. Even though Burnett had fewer bad starts than his rotation mates, his ERA in those games was a whopping 13.10, compared to Sabathia’s 9.38 and Pettitte’s 8.01. For whatever reason, when Burnett does not have his “good stuff”, it seems as if he stops competing. Although likely more perception than reality, the idea that Burnett in incapable of or unwilling to battle through a tough start likely also feeds into the negative image he has acquired.

ERA in Wins, American League 2009-2010

Player Wins   ERA
Trevor Cahill 22 Ind. Games 1.22
Jon Lester 27 Ind. Games 1.32
Felix Hernandez 26 Ind. Games 1.33
A.J. Burnett 22 Ind. Games 1.37
Jason Vargas 10 Ind. Games 1.47

Note: Minimum 10 decisions
Source: Baseball-reference.com

ERA in Losses, American League 2009-2010

Player Losses   ERA
Andy Sonnanstine 10 Ind. Games 10.28
Luke Hochevar 17 Ind. Games 10.07
Derek Holland 13 Ind. Games 9.79
Scott Kazmir 18 Ind. Games 9.52
A.J. Burnett 18 Ind. Games 9.29

Note: Minimum 10 decisions
Source: Baseball-reference.com

The Good AJ/Bad AJ paradox has really been a Yankee creation. In his one-plus seasons as a Yankee, Burnett has the fourth best ERA in winning decisions, but also the fifth worst ERA in losses. While a member of the Blue Jays, however, the divergence in his performance was much less.

AJ Burnett’s ERA in Wins and Losses

  Number ERA Rank*
Wins As Yankee 22 1.37 4 of 57
Losses As Yankee 18 9.29 5 of 59
Wins As Blue Jay 38 2.55 43 of 62
Losses As Blue Jay 25 6.33 51 of 64

Note: Minimum 10 decisions for Yankees and minimum 15 decisions for Blue Jays
*From top for wins and from bottom for losses
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Without a doubt, AJ Burnett’s performance has always been judged against expectations. Despite having what many scouts have referred to as the “best stuff in the game”, Burnett has really never put it all together. Based on that disconnect alone, you can understand why Burnett is so often viewed as an enigma. This season, however, perception has actually become the reality. In fact, Burnett has often looked so conflicted that it almost seems as if the Good and Bad AJ are battling each other out on the mound. As Burnett gets set to the toe the rubber in Texas tonight, the Yankees have to hope the Good AJ wins out.

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