Tagged: AJ Burnett

27?

With a solid performance from Andy Pettitte in game 4 the Yankees are in superb position for a 27th World Champoionship. Both offenses were good last night, each having their ups and downs but the Yankees had more ups than the Phils and took a 3-1 lead in the series.

It was obviously set to go in favor of the Yankees with Pettitte going against Joe Blanton who statistically had no chance against the Yankee lineup.  He held his own and didn’t totally blow it but it definitely wasn’t enough for the Phillies as Pettitte was phenominal.

Game 2 of the series seemed to be dominated by AJ Burnett and his curveball… not to mention his fastball and his other dominating pitches.  Burnett was able to keep the Yankees in the series with a key victory in game 2 and sent the series to Philly even.  If Burnett can come up with another huge performance like in game 2, the Yankees will walk away with this series.  And who though the Yankees had no chance when they lost a game at home.  They are also a very good road team and it proved the last to games as they took their second and third straight wins in the series on the road in Citizens Bank Park.

How about A-Rod?  He’s come up huge these past couple games.  Despite the being hit by pitch twenty gazillion times (I hope you realize I am exaggerating) he has played a very big role in the offense the past two games.  He hit a key homer in the game 3 off the camera in right field that had to be reviewed before being called a homer.  He also came up with some other key at bats.  He has seemed to be getting back into the form he was in earlier in the playoffs.

Derek Jeter… can he get any better?  He hasn’t done anything spectacular this World Series but honestly, you can’t get away with him.  He’s just that good.  His presence alone has helped the Yankees win games.  He has consistently gotten on base and has scored runs.  Speaking of getting on base and scoring runs, Johnny Damon had a great game last night including two steals on the same play.  He stole second and took advantage of his speed by gettign to third which was uncovered.  Great heads up baserunning which really cost the Phillies a run later in the game.  The Yankees have seemed to be getting back into the swing of things all around as the whole team has been rolling smoothly.

Now, since the end of the series is  coming up soon, you have to be thinking MVP.  Well, if the Yankees win it, I’m going to have to give it to AJ Burnett.  Now, the series is not over yet and tonight’s start could change my whole mindset about this choice, but if he is as good as he was in game 2 and the Yankees win, Burnett would be my choice.  Two phenominal starts with dominating stuff.  Two wins.  How can you go by that when choosing an MVP?

Now, I don’t like to have to think this but if the Phillies win, I would probably choose between Chase Utley, who has been killing the ball lately, or Jayson Werth who has equally destroyed the ball this series.  Both have had a major power surge and Jayson Werth has made some plays in the outfield to keep runners from moving forward with his strong arm.

This series is finally getting to the point where both offenses have broken out with a fair share of good pitching.  It is what I expected it to be and hopefully the Yankees can come out on top quickly tonight.  It wouldn’t be the worst thing if we lost tonight but to win it soon would be fantastic.  It would be nice to win in New York but the sooner the better is the way I see it.  No chances.

The one key to tonight’s game is Cliff Lee.  Can he shut down the Yankees streaking offense or will he get run over as Blanton and Hamels have the past two games?

I spy a 27th championship for the Yankees right around the corner.

-Dillon

Burnett Burns Phils

AJ Burnett was sensational as he kept the Phillies to one run in game 2 of the World Series last night in the Bronx.  Pedro Martinez pitched well but was unable to hold the Yankees offense silent to a second night in a row.  The Bombers took a while to score some runs but they got there eventually and came out with an important game 2 victory.

The “Who’s your daddy” chants throughout the stadium did not seem to take any effect on Pedro as he had the Yankees guessing early on.  He and AJ Burnett seemed to match each other inning after inning.  It was in the fourth inning when Mark Teixeira finally got to Pedro and took one for a ride to left field.  In the sixth inning, Hideki Matsui took another Martinez pitch out to right field with a gold-like swing.  Jorge Posada also pitched in with an RBI in the seventh after pinch hitting for Jose Molina.  Last night did not show much offense, but the way Burnett pitched last night, it was enough.

The commentators for Fox’s World Series coverage continue to say that AJ Burnett’s curveball is the best in the game… if it is right.  That’s the whole key.  We have seen Burnett struggle a lot this season when he had a tough time getting his curveball and other key pitches to work.  But last night his curveball truly was the best in the game as he made Phillies batters look in awe of the movement.  And when they decided to try and hit it… they missed.  Simple as that.  Burnett also provided a solid 95 mph fastball that kept hitters honest.  His two seemer seemed to be getting the best of the Phillies batters as well.  It proved this early in the game when he got Shane Victorino to strike out looking at a two seemer that came right back over the inside part of the plate.  Burnett’s sensational performance last night has kept the Yankees in this series. 

These next three games on the road will be crucial for both teams.  The Phillies have a great home record but the Yankees can’t be counted out for anything.  The Yankees NEED to win a game on the road and hope to bring the series back to New York.  If they can get the series back to New York and keep the Phillies at bay, then the Yankees will take this World Series and add the trophy to the other 26.

Game 3’s starters are Andy Pettitte, who was huge in the ALDS and ALCS for the Yankees, and Cole Hamels, last years NLCS MVP.  This matchup, to me, is the most intriguing of the three big pitching matchups for this series.  Pettitte has been pitching in the postseason since he put on his pinstripes it seems and has had a lot of success.  Cole Hamels has only seen on playoff and has succeeded in it as well.  Both are excellent pitchers with good stuff that can be tricky for opposing hitters to get to.  They both have great minds for the game and can really help their respective teams.  This game will hopefully have some more offense in an even friendlier offensive park than Yankee STadium (Citizen’s Bank Park) but the pitchers will both still have solid performances.

-Dillon

Where’s the Offense

Chase Utley hit two home runs.  Big whoop! These two teams are the two most powerful offenses in the MLB and all that really happened was one guy hit a couple homers.  Very disappointing.

The Phils took game one simply because of the lack of offensive production from the Yankees offense.  The Phils got their two runs from Chase Utley who took CC Sabathia out of the park on a few bad pitches by CC.  It is a tough game one loss for Yankees fans because who knows if we will be able to take a game in Philly. The home field advantage will be very important in this series and the fact that we already lost a game at home might come back to bite us in the butt.

Honestly, I was very disappointed at the lack of excitement in this series so far.  CC really didn’t pitch all that badly but the couple mistakes he made hurt him.  Other than that, he and Cliff Lee were phenominal and I’m not taking anything away from them.  The offenses in this series are really what is making this series really exciting.  Hopefully it gets a little more exciting.

Game two is going to be Pedro Martinez’s return to Yankee STadium.  Will we here the “Who’s your daddy” chant or will we get a lot of boos in Pedro’s direction? who knows but it will be really interesting to see the fans’ reaction to his return.  The Yankees will rely on AJ Burnett to go out there and pitch just as well as CC did last night, maybe without the homers though.  The offense really needs to wake up too.  I guess they thought they had already finished the season or something because there was no sign of it last night.

Go Yankees!

-Dillon

Brilliant

CC Sabathia was absolutely brilliant last night against the Angels and led the Yanks to a game one victory.  It’s always important to get the  first game victory to get the momentum in your direction so hopefully this is a good sign for success in this series.  The next we’ll see of Sabathia will be in game four when he makes his second appearance on three days rest.  It’ll be interesting to see how that all goes down but for now on, back to Sabathia’s brilliance.

He went 8 innings giving up four hits, one walk and one run while striking out seven.  He was probably the best I’ve seen him in a while now.  And that is saying something because he is definitely in the Cy Young considerations.  He was great.

The offense was able to get a few breaks since the usually really good Angels defense made three errors which cost them dearly.  THe one that probably hurt them the most was the one where Matsui hit a pop up right in between Chone Figgins and Eric Aybar and it just dropped without either one trying to catch it.  The Angels really had a tough game last night but the Yankees did their part in making sure the Angels offense didn’t get very far.  That was why CC was so important last night.  It is all going to go down to pitching.  Like I said in my last post.

On the offensive side of things, there wasn’t any one person that had a terrific game.  They did their job without doing anything huge.  No homers, which was due to the fact that the wind was blowing strongly into the f ield, and they just got on base and scored runs as simply as it gets.  Simple baseball.  Not too exciting but it was still a great game.  A big win for the Yanks and the momentum is definitely going their direction to start this series.

Tonight, AJ Burnett goes against Joe Saunders.  For Yankee fans, the biggest question is this: which AJ Burnett will  show up?

-Dillon

Yankees To Go With Three Man Rotation

Youve got CC who has pitched on three day’s rest before in the playoffs, AJ Burnett who is a dominant pitcher when everything is working for him and then you’ve got Andy Pettitte who is a postseason veteran being with many of the past Yankees’ playoff teams.  This is about as good as a three man rotation there is.  And this is how the Yanks will be running for the ALCS.  CC will start game one, Burnett Game two and Pettitte Game three.  It’s awesome baby!  Yeah, I just quoted Dick Vitale, sue me.

CC’s past postseason experience will be key for his pitching on three days rest.  It is going to be tough but he has done it before and he should be able to get through it and still give us a great outing.  Now, the Angels are no easy team to beat but CC’s short rest will be a very important part to this series.

All I can say is I hope he is doning plenty of these fist pumps because he hasn’t had the most consistent of seasons.  If he has all his pitches working he will be great but he needs to really work.

Andy Pettitte just needs to be the Andy Pettitte that Yankee fans all around have come to expect him to be.  Or maybe a little better.  He puts in a good effort and usually comes out with a good outcome.  This quality pitcher is the third guy in the rotation and will probably have the least pressure on him.  But that doesn’t mean he needs to lighten up.  I’m sure Pettitte will give out a quality peformance as he alwasy does.

I hope I don’t have to into the offense being phenominal and them having no problem getting on and scoring.  It is all going to come down to pitching and that’s that.

-Dillon

A-Rod and Teixeira Carry Yanks

A-Rod drove in two in the ninth with a home run, which was an absolute bomb by the way, to tie the game and sent it into extras.  In the eleventh, Mark Teixeira hit a “wall scraper” to win the game down the left field line.  Wow! What an exciting game but there is plenty more about this game that made it spectacular.

AJ Burnett and Nick Blackburn both threw outstanding games; Burnett went 6 innings and Blackburn went 5.2 each giving up a run.  Burnett gave up five walks which could’ve led to some pretty bad happenings for the Yanks but he got out of it like both teams did over the course of the game.  Blackburn gave up three hits and walked two while striking out three.  Overall, the starters threw a pitchers duel that was exciting to watch.  They always are, waiting to see who makes the first mistake that will cost them the game.

When Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke combined to throw a perfect seventh inning I thought the Yanks were gonna cruise to another win with the way the bullpen was pitching.  Yeah right! Phil Hughes came in to pitch the eighth and that is where everything went wrong.  He was chased after only getting two outs after he gave up two hits and a walk which led to two runs.  It was a tough performance from Hughes and the Twins took the lead going into the final inning.

This is where I picked up the game on the radio on my way home from the movies with some friends.  I figured out that the Yanks were down 3-1.  It was killing me how the Yankees might end up losing to the Twins.  It was terrible.  But then it all happened.  Mariano Rivera finished the eighth and got out of the ninth with no more damage.  This was the time for the Yankees to hit there stride.  And they did.  Teixeira got on base and Alex Rodriguez brought him home with a bomb to the bullpen.  The game was tied and we almost won it in the ninth too.  Swish almost hit one but it was a few steps short of the wall.

In extras, it was pretty close with each team making their fair share of mistakes, pitching and fielding.  In general, the pitching only made a few mistakes to let guys get hits but the biggest one was when the Twins’ Joe Nathan threw the ball to second to try and pick off Brett Gardner and he threw it into the outfield.  Gardner shimmied over to third and was immediatley the number one priority for the Twins’ defense.  But Gardner made a mistake too.  On a line drive to the middle of the infield, Gardner took off towards home.  But he didn’t realize it was hit right at Orlando Cabrera and Gardner was doubled off at third.  That killed me.

The Yanks were unable to capitalize in the tenth but when Mark Teixeira came up in the eleventh, he came threw and hit a bullet down the the left field line that hit the top of the wall and bounced into the stands for the homer.  The game was finally over and the Yankees won again.  Just like I predicted they would.  It was a great game that was not only going have every one on the edge of their seats, but it was key to the outcome of this series.  Now the Yankees don’t necessarily have to win on the road they can have the comfort of playing another game at home if they are unable to win in Minnesota, which won’t be an easy task.

-Dillon

CC, Yankees Roll

The Yankees just keep on rolling and to be completely honest, I think it will take a lot more than the effort the Twins gave last night to stop the Bombers.

CC was absolutely phenominal.  I can’t say enough about it.  He pitched 6 2/3 solid innings and he was just about as good as he has been all year.  This win shows that despite being denied 20 wins on the season that he is still about as good as they get.  With 8 K’s and only one earned run, I officially summarize this game for the Yanks as domination.

CC wasn’t the only successful Yankee last night.  Far from it in fact.  Let’s start with the Captain.  Mr. November just picked up where he left off in the regular season and completely dominated Twins pitching.  He was 2-2 with a homer, three runs scored, and two RBI’s.  An outstanding performance from the captain was just the beginning of the successt the Yankees had last night.

Hideki Matsui surely showed that he still deserved the nickname “Godzilla” and belted a homer in the fifth.  He finished the game having gone 1-3 with that homer and he also drew a walk.

A-Rod went 2-4 wtih two RBI’s and a run scored and he played a solid third base as well.  Nick Swisher also drove in a run to add to the Yankees’ success.  Another thing I’d like to add about Swisher is how important his clubhouse presence has been all season.  Every team should have at least one guy like this.  Someone to keep everyone going and to keep spirits up.  The jokester on the team, the prankster.  Swisher definitely filled that roll this year with the Yankees and I am really grateful of that.

When the game finally rolled into the ninth inning, it looked as if the game was done with.  The Twins had no chance.  They weren’t even gonna come close to scoring at all…

-Now with the way I just said all that it seems like I’m going to say that they came back and won the game.  Yeah right.  Not on Mo’s watch.

Mariano Rivera pitched as spectacularly as he has all year.  Another great performance that left the Twins scratching their heads.  He let up one hit and one walk but other than that he was fantastic striking out two.

The great thing about Mo is that he does all of this with only one pitch.  His cutter, which wasn’t originally a cutter, has gotten the job done over his career unlike any other pitcher’s pitch in history has.  That story was in Sports Illustrated recently and it was one of the best articles I have read in a while.  Mo is one of a kind.

With the opening game win in the books, the Yanks have one day off before they send AJ Burnett out to face off against Nick Blackburn.

-By the way doesn’t Blackburn and Joe Mauer look really similar or is it just me?

  Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins

Well, I’m pretty sure that Burnett has the advantage in this one but Blackburn is still a quality pitcher. The Twins may have some chance… possibly… maybe a little… Yeah right, I’m just joking.  The Yankees are going to win this one as they did the first one.

Go Yankees!

-Dillon

Sweet Sweet Victory

Well, before I get to the Yankees-Red Sox recap, I’ve got to let my thoughts be heard on a few other things that happened yesterday around the MLB.

Most baseball fans know Chase Utley.  The second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies.  He’s got that good defensive record, a strange power source from a second baseman, and a great mind for the game.  Yeah, him.  But he wasn’t playing in Sunday’s matchup between the Phils and Mets.  Eric Bruntlett filled in for him and made his presence known in an unusual way.  In a game that had so many unusual scenarios, Bruntlett made a play that only one other person has done before.  But that was just the end of everything that happened yesterday.

The Phils scored six runs in the top of the first off of Oliver Perez.  But Perez didn’t make it out of the first inning.  He was facing Pedro Martinez, who was making his return to NY after being cut by the Mets this past off-season.  Pedro had a 3-0 count and manager Jerry Manuel came out to pull Perez.  An unusual happening.  A pitcher getting pulled in the middle of an at bat.  Strange.

Well, the Mets eventually got out of the inning.  Then they had a little fun of their own.  To lead off the bottom half of the inning, Angel Pagan hit a shot to the left center gap that sent Shane Victorino running to the wall.  The ball got wedged under the wall and Victorino thought he could get away with calling it as a double.  But the umps didn’t think it that way.  The umps didn’t make the call and the left fielder picked it up and threw it in.  This whole time, Pagan had been running the bases and wound up with an inside the park homer.  The ball was wedged underneath the wall but it wasn’t so badly wedged that it would take some work to get it out and that it should have been a double.  The umps made the right call.  Strange.

Later in the game, Jeff Francoeur, the Mets’ right fielder, made a great sliding catch to rob Eric Bruntlett of all people of a base hit.  At first the umps called Bruntlett safe as he went on to third as Francoeur was unaware of the call.  Then the umps met and reversed the call after both Francoeur and Jerry Manuel argued the call.  It was another crazy moment that was obviously a catch when the replay showed it.  Strange.

Now, the biggest highlight of the game was Bruntlett’s play in the bottom of the ninth which ended the game.  With runners on first and second, Jeff Francoeur (there seems to be a recurring theme of players being involved in multiple strange plays) stepped up to the plate.  He hit a liner with a full count up the middle.  With the runners in motion, Bruntlett had been moving to cover second base.  The ball was hit right to him on a line.  He snagged it, tagged second base, and tagged David Murphy who was on first at the start of the play.  An unnasissted triple play to end the game, the first in the NL history, second in MLB history.  Strange.

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OK so back to the Yankees-Red Sox game.  Last night, the aces of the two clubs faced off in the rubber match of the series.  It was set to be a great pitcher’s duel, as was Beckett’s and Burnett’s not to long ago.  And it was a really good game.  The Yankees opened up the game with two runs early.  The first was on a Derek Jeter solo shot and the second on Hideki Matsui’s first shot of the night which was also a solo shot.  The Yankees scored two more runs on the Red Sox in the third inning, neither on homers.  Then, Robinson Cano homered in the fourth, and A-Rod homered in the fifth to drive in two more.  Matsui hit the final Yankee homer in the eighth which was another solo shot.  A home run barrage, as Yankees.com puts it, lit up the sky in Boston as the Yanks rolled to an 8-4 victory.  Sweet Sweet Victory.

The Red Sox did score four runs but CC kept them at bay most of the night.  The Yankees did jump on top early and that was a big advantage for them as the game went on.  The Red Sox tied the score in the second but the Yankees went back ahead and never looked back.  The Sox didn’t leave the yard once in the game, surprisingly.  The lack of the long ball in a game dominated by the long ball is probably what did the Red Sox in.

CC finished the game with eight strikeouts as all his stuff was dominant.  Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera were successful out of the ‘pen as they finished the game off.  Beckett finished with five K’s on the night, not bad.  He also gave up all five homers though.  Not good.

So let’s take a look back at the series that was.  Game One:

The Yankees score 20 runs against Brad Penny and the REd Sox.  Another terrible outing for Penny who would later be pulled from the starting rotation to make room for Wakefield who is coming back soon.  Another home run happy game sent many bombs flying through the Boston sky.  The Red Sox had their fair share of runs too.  They just weren’t able to make up for what the pitching let up.  Too bad.  They scored 11 runs.

Game Two:

The Red Sox stole the Yankees’ thunder for game two as they burst out with another 14 runs compared to the Yankees’ Nick Swisher’s single run.  Swish hit a solo shot to left to score the only run for the Yanks on the day.  A very disappointing loss for the Yanks and a touche to the REd Sox was all that was in me for Saturday.

Then came game three which I just talked about.  A very exciting series that was truly a back and forth one.  Great to watch and I’m sure, as always, it was great to play in for both teams.  No fights broke out which was good for the teams.  I don’t think either could afford losing anyone right now, especially the Red Sox who are in the Wild Card race and don’t have that big of a lead anymore.  It was a clean series  that was fun to watch as a fan.  Especially since the Yankees won.

-Dillon

I Can’t Really Say It Any Other Way

Touche!

Well everyone, I don’t really have anything much to write about today.  No, it’s not because of writer’s block, it’s not because I’m lazy, it’s just because I am gonna give you all an awesome wrap up of the Yankees-Red Sox series that took place this weekend… the final of the season series.

Now, the big “Touche” at the top of this post was definitely in need of being said.  The Yanks beat down on Brad Penny and the Sox in game one finishing with a score of 20-11.  It was very fun to watch.  It was as if every time someone came up to bat, the Yankees would get something positive out of it.  It was that kind of day.

Now, yesterday’s game… not so much.  The Red Sox basically stole the Yankees’ thunder and scored 12 runs against the Yankees’ 1 which came on a solo shot from Nick Swisher.  It was funny too because right as Swisher was come to bat I told my dad that I would be really mad if the Yanks got shut out.  Then, as if they had microphones inside my house… another story for another day… Swisher hit a bomb to left that invaded the Monster seats.  That satisfied me enough to deal with the blow of defeat.

So, the touche was definitely appropriate and you can’t say I’m a sore loser for not giving the Red Sox props for doing what they did.  Next up is the premier matchup of the series and what a way to close out the season series than to have the aces of both teams square off to see who takes home the final victory of the season.

CC Sabathia will go for the Yankees and Josh Beckett for the BoSox.  It will definitely be a matchup for the ages and if it’s anything like the matchup between Beckett and AJ Burnett, which wasn’t that long ago, we will surely be seeing replays of it for many years to come.

Go Yanks!

-Dillon

Strasburg Signs, Cards Beat Dodgers Again, Tomko Beats Former Team

Strasburg is signed, the Yanks were kept scoreless by their former comrad, and the Cards continue to dominate the Dodgers, MLB’s best team.  Here we go…

Yesterday I talked about the whole Strasburg situation.  Well, he’s finally signed; it took until 11:58 Monday night to get it done.  Another Scott Boras guy, Strasburg was drafted number one by the Nats and is expected to be the start of a reformation in the nation’s capital.

Here’s a comment I got on my post from yesterday by Julia from Julia’s Rants:

“Dillon- Jacoby Ellsbury has to be near the top of your list as well.  Many a wall wear scares from him.  And Strasburg?  Sadly another case of his devil of an agent trying to extort money from teams.”

Julia put it right on the money.  Boras has the reputation of extorting money from teams trying to sign his clients.  He definitely gets his clients money but he is not like much by other players, teams, and fans because of how he does it.  For the Nationals, they are probably ecstatic that they were able to sign Strasburg.  Boras took it down to the last minute until Strasburg told him to get it done because of his wanting to play.  It’s done now and you can expect to see Strasburg in the nation’s capital next spring.

Hey, Yankee fans!  Remember this guy.  Yeah.  It’s Brett Tomko.  He kind of played for us this year until we released him in July because he wasn’t performing to the level of success that we needed him to.  Yeah, him.  Well, he’s on the Athletics now and he just shut us out yesterday.  What a shame.

The Yankees were held to seven hits and were walked twice.  Tomko was definitely on his game for the first five innings of the game before he was taken out.  And even after he was relieved, the Yankees were still baffled by the Athletics’ pitching.  They just couldn’t get it done.  After Tomko came out, they only got two more hits.  That’s terrible.  How could this happen against the A’s of all teams?  Well, at least we can say AJ Burnett and Derek Jeter had really really good games.

Burnett went a complete game (8 innings) of STELLAR work.  He only allowed six hits, one less than the Yankees had as a team.  He struck out five and walked two.  Not a bad performance.  In fact, it’s a very good performance.  This would be the kind of performance we would assume came in a Yankee victory.  But unfortunately the Yankee bats were held quiet.  But not Derek Jeter.

Jeter went 3-4 with three singles.  He didn’t do much more than that but at least he was able to have some success agaisnt the Oakland pitching.  Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher both hit doubles, their only hits of the game.  Jorge Posada and Ramiro Pena both hit singles as well.  The Yankees still have a seven game lead on the Red Sox in the AL East.

Chris Carpenter was dealing last night against the Dodgers.  He went eight innings of work giving up only five hits and a walk.  He struck out eight.  He only gave up two runs on the game which is a good sign as for his run control goes.  The offense also helped out.  It took until the end of the game to pull ahead but it happened eventually and Carpenter was still on the mound to record the win.  Pujols homered in the fourth to tie the game at one apiece.  Then in the seventh, Rick Ankiel sent a bomb to deep right center to go ahead 3-2.  The Cards kept the lead with Trevor Miller and Ryan Franklin who combined to pitch the ninth.  The Dodgers seem to have no answer for the Cards this season.  They could be a deadly foe for the Dodgers in the playoffs as the Cards may have the top of the Central division come the end of the season.  Who knows, maybe the Cards will out play the MLB’s best team.

-Dillon