On his best nights, A.J. Burnett is a three-pitch pitcher: four-seam fastball, that tight, chew-the-air curveball and an occasional change-up.
He had only his fastball tonight. But Burnett pitched into the seventh inning and allowed two runs against one of the more opportunistic teams in the league.
“Battle mode all the time,” he called it.
Give Jorge Posada a nod for this one. It’s easy to focus on those wild pitches that skipped by Posada. But if you were paying attention, Posada was able to cajole the curveballs Burnett used to strike out Michael Cuddyer to end the fifth inning with the bases loaded and Denard Span with two on and two out in the sixth.
“That’s what he’s capable of doing, that’s how good he is,” Posada said. “Even through he doesn’t have it, in the back of my mind that’s the pitch I want to go to and he made the pitch.”
The Yankees have a 2.86 ERA in their last 22 games and Posada has caught 17 of those games. All those who think he’s not a championship catcher, slap on a dunce cap and sit in the back of the class.
Here is Burnett talking about his night:
A few other observations:
• Interesting that Joe Girardi used Melky Cabrera in left field in the ninth inning tonight and not in right. Swisher is no Roberto Clemente out in right but Damon has been staggering around in left like Fred G. Sanford.
• Joe Mauer now qualifies for the AL batting lead. He’s at .388.
• Brett Gardner is 4 for 9 with four RBI in the series. The Yankees are getting .287/.356/.441 out of their center fielders this season along with 38 RBI and 24 extra-base hits. That’s more than anybody had a right to expect in March.
Day game tomorrow, Metrodome finale for the Yankees. Come back for more.