Saturday, June 27, 2009

Yanks Run Win Streak To 4 As Burnett DOMINATES The Mets

Let the good times roll. The Yankees continued their winning ways, running the win steak to 4 with a 5-0 shutout of their crosstown rivals. Tonight's win was all about one man: A.J. Burnett. A.J. in a word: awesome. A.J. in another word: dominant. The Mets couldn't touch him. The Mets haven't really been able to touch any Yankee pitcher this series. The Mets have managed 4 hits in these 2 games. I caught about 30 seconds of the post game show. Someone, I think Joel Sherman, asked Joe Girardi if the Yankees pitching has been good or if the Mets hitting has been bad. What a stupid question! Then again, it is Joel Sherman. Yeah, not a fan. Anyone that's watched these last 2 games know it's all been about the Yankee pitching. They are rolling, and A.J. is right there leading the charge.

A.J. kicked some major ass tonight. As I said above, the Mets couldn't touch him. A.J. allowed only 1 hit and 3 walks over 7 innings. He whiffed 10, count 'em 10 Mets. Like I said, untouchable. A.J. has been pretty untouchable as of late. He's allowed only 1 earned run in his last 3 starts. His line over those 3 games is phenomenal: 20.1 IP, 1 ER, 0.44 ERA, 10 hits, 10 BB, and 26 K. Rock and roll.

When A.J. was less than stellar earlier in the season, there was some chatter about him being a bust. I never thought he was. I wrote several times this year that his season was very similar to last year, when he won 18 games. The backlash was kind of understandable. After winning his first 2 games, he failed to win any of his next 7 starts. After 9 starts, he was looking at a 5.28 ERA. I wrote this after his 6 scoreless innings in Texas:

A.J. now has 10 starts under his belt and his record sits at 3-2. I don't think it's the start that we Yankee fans envisioned or hoped for, but there is a silver lining. I don't think any of us would have any beef if A.J. could pitch like he did last year, when he went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA. Last year thru his first 10 starts, Burnett was 4-4 with a 4.71 ERA. His WHIP was 1.48 (58 hits, 27 walks, 57.1 IP). This year after 10 starts, he's 3-2 with an ERA of 4.78. His WHIP is lower at 1.41 (59 hits, 31 walks, 64 IP). The biggest difference is that he's given up 10 HRs this year and had only given up 4 at this point last year. I'm sure part of that has to do with pitching in the new Yankee Stadium. My point is that A.J. will get better as the season moves on. Hopefully last night's outing is the jumping off point.

I love it when thinks work out like I think they will. That win was a jumping off point. Over his last 6 starts, A.J. is 4-2 with a 1.75 ERA. He started out really slow and is now turning it on, living up to his contract. A.J. now has 15 starts this season. His record stands at 6-4 with a 3.93 ERA and a WHIP of 1.37. Last year after 15 starts, A.J. was 6-6 with a 4.90 ERA and a WHIP of 1.51. He turned it on around start 17 and finished the year with 18 wins, a 4.07 ERA and a WHIP of 1.44. He's ahead of the game. Like I said in my previous post, I don't think any Yankee fan would have beef if A.J. could pitch like he did last year. He's on his way to exceeding expectations. Now he just needs to pitch well against Boston.

I've also got to give it up to Jorge Posada. In addition to hitting a 3-run HR, he worked well with Burnett. I'm still not overly high on Posada when it comes to catching. I prefer him as a DH but that's me. I don't necessarily have a problem with Jorge catching. I just think there are some gains to having a better defensive catcher behind the plate as long as Jorge's bat stays in the lineup.

Interleague play ends tomorrow with the Subway Series finale. Chien-Ming Wang vs. Livan Hernandez. It should be an interesting one. The Yankees usually pound Hernandez. In 6 career starts against the Yanks he has an ERA of 6.94. They battered him for 6 runs back on June 12. Hopefully, Chien-Ming Wang picks up his 1st win of the year. Wang's last 2 starts were pretty decent. He's on the cusp of being the Chien-Ming Wang of old. I was right about Burnett. Hopefully I'm right about Wang.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,