Are you like me? Did you breathe a huge sigh of relief after A.J. Burnett's start? The last thing I wanted to see today was Burnett implode and pick up where he left off last year. A.J. wasn't lights out today but for my money it was a great start. He had exceptional control, throwing 2/3 of his pitches for strikes. I'm cautiously optimistic about how he's going to do this year. I'm not putting a lot of stock in this start but it was definitely a step in the right direction. I caution everyone not to think all is good with Burnett. His first start in 2010 was almost identical to his start today. Check out these game lines:
- 2011 - 5 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, ERA = 5.40, win
- 2010 - 5 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, ERA = 5.40, no decision
So don't get too excited. Last season for A.J. was one we all want to forget. I think I saw a stat flash during the broadcast that A.J. was the 1st Yankee pitcher ever to lose 15 games and have an ERA over 5. Or it was something to that effect. To quote Charles Barkley, he was turrible. He got off on the right foot today. Hopefully, it continues.
Speaking of getting off on the right foot and hoping it continues, how about that Mark Teixeira? Everyone knows that Teixeira underperforms in April. It's no secret. I'll take a .286 average with 2 HR and 6 RBI after 2 games. It's pretty safe to assume that Teix would take it too. So far he looks like he's in mid-season form. Hopefully, it continues.
How about the start A-Rod is off to? His hot spring is carrying right over to the regular season. Alex is 3-5 (.600) with 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 BB and 2 RBI. Alex is locked and loaded. You can tell too just by watching him. When he hits the ball to the opposite field with power, he's on his game. I'm feeling very good about my pre-season AL MVP prediction right now. Hopefully, it continues.
I didn't see Russell Martin getting off to such an exciting start. He was a spark plug on Opening Day with his stolen base and run scored on a shallow sac fly to CF. Today he went deep to LF for a 3-run HR. Wow. I wish I didn't drop him in a fantasy league I'm in. I drafted him late but cut him to make room for a backup I needed at another position. Ooops. Same thing kind of happened last year with Teixeira. I had him in a sim league and he was terrible up until the moment I traded him. I'm happy to take one for the team if it means real-life performance improves once I'm done with them. Keeping with the running theme of this post, I hope Russell Russ's hot start continues.
Pretty good day all around for the offense. With the exception of Nick Swisher every Yankee starter had at least one base hit. But Swish knocked in a run with a sac fly so it's all good.
The only sore spot of today's game was the performance of the underbelly of the bullpen. Neither Boone Logan or Luis Ayala were terribly effective. Not worrying too much about it. I don't see Ayala pitching in big spots and Logan, well, I have a feeling we won't see him much either. Call it a hunch but I don't see him staying a Yankee for the entire season. Gut feeling. The only benefit of their suckiness was that it gave Mariano Rivera the chance to pick up a cheap save. As expected, he did. 3 pitches, game over. Mo = G.O.A.T.
I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's game. I've always been a big Phil Hughes guy. I didn't see him in action at all during Spring Training so tomorrow will be the first time I see him this year. I'm expecting big things from Phil this year. I'm hoping to kick off the Hughes call. After each PH win I do a Hughes call. I did the same for Mike Mussina with a Moose call. Basically, I add a "u" for every win. So last year's Hughes call looked like this w/18 Us: Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuughes! Go get 'em Phil.
Peace, love and Pinstripes,