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Archive for April 3rd, 2011

A.J. Burnett battled in his 2011 season debut, and not just against the Tigers’ lineup. The right hander also had to overcome the discomfort of a nasty head cold as well as the ghosts of a disastrous 2010 campaign. In the past, scrutiny compounded by distraction has often been a recipe for failure, but this time Burnett pitched well enough to win, and that’s exactly what the Yankees did.

AJ Burnett got 2011 off on the right foot with five solid innings against the Tigers (Photo: Getty Images).

Over the first four innings, Burnett was the good AJ. The only blip in those frames was a 3-2 fastball thrown to Austin Jackson that was subsequently deposited into the left field seats. Otherwise, the right hander used an explosive fastball and sharp breaking curve to keep the Tigers off balance in the early part of the game.

While Burnett sailed through the Tigers’ lineup, the Yankees jumping all over Brad Penny for six runs in the first two innings. The highlight of the early barrage was another three run homerun by Mark Teixeira, who has historically struggled in the early part of the season. After only two games, Teixeira now has two long balls and six RBIs. In 2010, the Yankees’ first baseman had two homeruns and nine RBIs in the entire month of April. Teixeira has made it his mission to avoid another slow start, and so far the early returns are encouraging.

AJ Burnett’s Pitch Breakdown

Pitch Type Avg. Speed Max Speed Count Strikes / % Swinging Strikes / %
Four Seam Fastball 93.04 95.1 55 40 / 72.73% 7 / 12.73%
Changeup 87.82 88.7 6 5 / 83.33% 0 / 0.00%
Knuckle-Curve 82.36 84.5 25 13 / 52.00% 4 / 16.00%

Source: brooksbaseball.net

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