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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Flash Points: John Flaherty breaks down the Game 2 pitching match-up

Posted by: Sam Borden - Posted in Misc on Oct 17, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Former Yankee and current YES Network analyst John Flaherty has agreed to break down the pitching match-up for every Yankees postseason game exclusively on the LoHud Yankees blog. Be sure to check out John on the YES pre- and post-game shows today. Here’s his take on the Game 2 starters:

YANKEES: RHP A.J. Burnett (0-0, 1.50 ERA)

WHAT’S HE THROW? “Fastball, power curve for his strikeout pitch and change-up.”

STRENGTHS: “I think it’s going to be the same thing for Burnett as the last time – he’s got to keep the fastball away to righties. He had a really sharp curveball the last outing, but the location wasn’t great and he’s not going to get away with that against this lineup. Good news for him, again, though, is that CC took some pressure off him by winning last night. In front of a home crowd and up 1-0 in the series, he ought to be able to relax just a little.”

WEAKNESSES: “The weather can be a factor. I didn’t think CC had a great slider last night and I think A.J., since he uses the power curve as his main strikeout pitch, could be affected. He may not be as consistent with that pitch and will have to adapt if he can’t control it. … It’s also no secret he’s easy to run on, so five walks like the last time would be bad news. This guy is a rhythm pitcher, so if the Angels get runners on by walks, they could make this a long night for him.”


ANGELS: LHP Joe Saunders (0-0, 0.00)

WHAT’S HE THROW? “Two- and four-seam fastballs, sinker, change-up and the occasional slider.”

STRENGTHS: “You hear a lot about the sinker but he’s got some heat on his fastball, too, he can get it up to 94 mph and that really sets up the change-up, especially to right-handed hitters. It’s a real nasty pitch to them. He can speed you up with the fastball, then drop it 12 mph. He’s also got a slider that he uses to the left-handed batters.”

WEAKNESSES: “I actually had a chance to talk to Scioscia out in Anaheim when Saunders was struggling a little and he said it’s all location. He’s got power stuff, but he can’t pitch in the middle of the plate. I expect the Yankees to go with the game plan of trying to take him the other way the entire night. If you get beat with a fastball, then maybe you can dump a single the other way; if it’s a change-up, you could be right on time and square it up. The Yankees can’t try to get big with this guy. It just won’t work.”


EDGE: “If we’re just talking about the pitchers and nothing else, I think Saunders may have a little bit of an edge in the cold weather because he’s a fastball/change-up guy and A.J.’s curveball is usually his go-to strikeout pitch. The weather makes it harder to spin the ball, and that favors a guy who relies more on the fastball and change. So, a slight edge to Saunders.”




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