During this blistering start to the season, A.J. Burnett’s curveball has come and gone, but his fastball has been reliable. He’s been throwing it with power and accuracy, and it helped carry him to a 4-0 record with a 1.99 ERA heading into tonight’s game in Boston.
“I had a good hook tonight, but I didn’t have a good heater,” he said. “I had a good fastball early but after that, everything was up. The ball to Ortiz leaked over. The one to Beltre was up. They all went where they weren’t supposed to go.”
Before coming to the Yankees, Burnett had been a dominant pitcher in this ballpark. He’d never lost against the Red Sox, and he had allowed just one earned run through 22.2 innings in Boston.
Last year, he went 0-2 with a 14.21 ERA at Fenway. This year he’s 0-1 with a 10.61 (4-0 with a 1.51 in every other stadium).
“His first start here wasn’t too bad this year,” manager Joe Girardi said. “But tonight he struggled with his command… I hope he doesn’t make too much of this one start, and I told him not to.”
Here’s Burnett talking about his rough outing.
• Pregame Girardi said he didn’t expect to make a player move before tomorrow’s series opener in Detroit. After the game, Girardi said it’s possible they’ll have to make a move to add a long reliever. They’ll probably want one behind Sergio Mitre, who will be limited to 65-75 pitches.
• Let there be no doubt, Marcus Thames has looked bad in left field, including a damaging error tonight. “He’s got to be able to play out there for us,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line.”
• Nick Swisher is on some kind of roll. He was 2-for-4 tonight with his fifth home run of the month, his seven home run of the season.
• Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run in 61 at-bats, a homer-less streak that stretched to April 20. Rodriguez said he hasn’t been concerned about the power numbers. He’s been trusting that the home runs will come, and in the meantime, he’s been willing to take his walks and pass the baton to Robinson Cano. “I never look at that as a big issue,” Rodriguez said. “I want to think small.”
• The Rodriguez homer tied him with Frank Robinson for seventh on the all-time home run list. His 15 games between home runs tied for the fourth longest stretch of his career.
‘• Asked about his ejection Girardi said, “I’m protecting my player and that’s all I want to say about it.” Sweeny Murti asked if he gave the ump just cause to toss him from the game. “You could write that,” Girardi said.
• It might be a one-and-done call-up for Romulo Sanchez if the Yankees decide to add another long reliever tomorrow, but he was terrific in his Yankees debut. The radar here at Fenway had his fastball consistently at 95-96 mph — I’ve seen him hit 97 consistently in Scranton — and he pitched 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.
• Nice diving stop by Kevin Russo at third base and Brett Gardner made some plays that showed his range in center.
• Gardner extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Associated Press photos.