It’s been well over a month since A.J. Burnett last got a win for the Yankees (April 14, to be exact) and he wasn’t hiding the fact that he’s frustrated to have now gone seven starts without one.
“I’m not going to lie – of course I am,” he said. “(Tonight) I didn’t give my team the chance to win from the get-go.”
Both Burnett and Dave Eiland said the problem with Burnett is that, for whatever reason, he leaves his left side open on a few pitches a night. That changes his release point, which alters the spin on the ball. The home run ball to Rollins was supposed to be down and in, Eiland said, but spun across to the middle of the plate; the homers to Carlos Ruiz and Jayson Werth were supposed to be down and away but did the same.
“He can’t get lazy with that front side,” Eiland said. “He cannot take one pitch off.” Eiland added that even though the final numbers might not reflect it, he believes Burnett is “very, very close to being dominant.”
Both Joe Girardi and Eiland were cautiously optimistic about Chien-Ming Wang’s performance. Two runs in three innings isn’t great, but Girardi liked seeing higher velocity and lower sink on Wang’s pitches. Wang is now unavailable until Tuesday, at the earliest, so we’ll see what he does next. If Joba can’t pitch for whatever reason, you’d imagine Wang would get the ball against the Rangers. If Joba does pitch, as he expects, I’m not sure what the right next step with Wang is. Putting him into this situation was pretty unorthodox to begin with.
As for the seven homers, I’d say that only one – Ruiz’s – was a “new Stadium special.” Ibanez’s was absolutely destroyed, as was Teixeira’s — it nearly got into the upper deck, landing on the suite level just below instead. Given the power hitters on both teams, I’d expect more of the same tomorrow and Sunday.
Near the end of his press conference, Girardi was asked about seeing the nine-game winning streak end. He shrugged and gave the expected response: “You’ve got to start a new one tomorrow.”
I’m off tomorrow and will have limited computer access for much of the day, but I’ll try to check in post-game. I’ll then be back on Sunday for what should be a fantastic match-up between CC Sabathia and Cole Hamels.
Enjoy your weekend, everybody. Have a great holiday.