Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yankees Take 2 Of 3 From Rays Behind A.J. Burnett

How can you not be excited if you're a Yankee fan? I know it's early. I know that the season is only 6 games old. But to take 2 of 3 in both Boston and Tampa? That's something to be excited about. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays are widely thought of as the 3 best teams in baseball. The Yankees went into Fenway and took 2 of 3 from the Sox. The Yankees went into Tampa and took 2 of 3 from the Rays. How can you not feel good about the team's start if you're a Yankee fan? It's pretty clear right now who's on top of the hill. But again, it's early. Things could change. But again, how can you not be excited about how the season has started?

Today's game didn't start out too hot. A.J. Burnett had an awful 1st inning and it looked like the bad version of A.J. Burnett was pitching. All things considered, I was very happy that the Rays only scored twice in the 1st. Personally, I think it was a bad bit of managing by Joe Maddon. The 1st 2 guys each singled and stole 2nd. Why would you have your 3-hitter sacrifice himself? You have a 1-run lead, a runner on 2nd, and one of your best hitters at the plate. That was the time to go for the jugular, not give up an out. Maybe if it were later in the game but not in the 1st inning. But I'm glad they did. Thanks for that Mr. Maddon.

After the 1st inning, A.J. had a somewhat easy-go of things. He retired 10 straight after the 1st inning. When Upton reached in the 4th, A.J. picked him off. When Burrell reached in the 5th, he got doubled off on the fly out to Granderson. While I'm on the subject of that play, I don't see why Burrell took a hard slide back into 1st. Supposedly he wanted to get hit by the ball. Whatever. If you ask me it was bush league. Moving on. It wasn't by any means Burnett's most dominant outing, but it worked. His control was off. Only 53% of his pitches were strikes. He walked 3 and only whiffed 1. Last year he almost struck out 1 an inning (195K in 207 IP). His control was definitely lacking today. But a win is a win. He didn't have his best stuff but he kept the Rays from scoring. And that's what good pitchers do. They find a way to get things done when their stuff isn't there.

I missed part of Joba pitching in the 8th inning. It was my brother in-law's birthday and we were in transit to his house. I missed the leadoff single and the RBI triple. It doesn't come off as the best of outings, but I guess the silver lining is that he stranded Crawford on 3rd. I'll let this one slide. Luck for JC the Yanks had a 7-2 lead.

I said this before the season started and I'll say it again. I'm really digging this lineup. There's just so much talent in it it's scary. If you knew that through the 1st 6 games that Nick Johnson would be hitting .136, Mark Teixeira would be hitting .125, and A-Rod would be hitting .259 with no hoime runs, you'd be foolish to think that the Yankees would be 4-2. It'll be really scary when those guys get hot and everything is running on all cylinders. Thankfully, the rest of the lineup is pretty much raking. Cano = .360. Posada = .353. Granderson = .348. Swisher = .333. Gardner = .294. Jeter = .286. As you can see the team is rocking 5 thru 9. They definitely deserve a lot of kudos for what they've done so far. I'd go as far as saying they're carrying the lineup.

Congrats to Nick Swisher for hitting his 1st HR and earning some bank for his charity, Swish's Wishes. If you're a regular reader you know a bunch of us are donating money to Nick's charity every time he goes yard. If you want to see an up-to-date tally, it's located in the upper left. If you'd like to join in on the fun and want some more info, check out this post. Now on the flip side, Nick needs to start hitting the ball when it counts. If you're a regular reader, then you've probably seen me call him "The Rally Killer." The RK made another appearance today. He came up in the 2nd with 2 out and Granderson on 2nd and he struck out swinging on 3 pitches. He came up in the 2nd with 2 out and runners on 1st and 2nd and he fouled out. In the 6th he grounded out with 1 down and Granderson on 2nd. That time however Granderson moved to 3rd and then scored on a wild pitch. It doesn't go down as a hit with RISP but I'll take the productive out. I really don't like calling Swish "The Rally Killer." But he kills rallies. The numbers don't lie.

The first road trip is in the books and so far so good. Now it's time for the real fun. Tuesday is the home opener and it's time for the boys to get their rings. Tuesday should be a pretty good time. I'm glad I took the day off. It all won't be fun and games as there is still a game to play. Those pesky Angels are coming to town. Wow. Who makes this schedule? Open on the road against the Red Sox and Rays. Open up at home against the Angels and Rangers. Talk about tough. It doesn't let up either. After the Rangers they have a 9 game roadie which includes make a trip to the west coast. The Yankees' schedule in April is definitely not a walk in the park. It's off to a great start and after beating the Sox and Rays, I'm confident they'll make it through it just fine. If you think I'm wrong, let me know.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,