If tomorrow goes exactly as A.J. Burnett wants it to go, the Yankees will score a few runs in the first inning — actually the sixth — and make Burnett a winning pitcher on a day he doesn’t pitch.
Isn’t that what Burnett will be rooting for?
“Believe it,” he said.
Burnett pitched well tonight, especially in those last three innings when he retired nine straight at one point and looked like the dominant pitcher we saw in April. Four of his last six outs were strikeouts.
“Even in the first I felt like I was a little off,” he said. “But I really started to feel the correct turn, the correct balance, the correct everything in the third and fourth really. After the first I felt pretty good.”
Said Joe Girardi: “He was really good. Attacked the strike zone. Got a lot of ground ball outs. And when he was going good, that’s what he was doing.”
He’ll wait until tomorrow to find out whether it was enough to win.
Here’s Girardi’s postgame — mid-game? — media session.
• Burnett didn’t go into specifics, but he did say this: “I used certain fastballs differently and pitched some guys differently than I normally would, and saw some positive results from those.”
• As you might expect, Girardi would not announce who his first pitcher will be tomorrow’s game. He said everyone will find out when he tells a pitcher to start getting loose in the bullpen. Just a guess, but it could be one of the left-handed relievers, because three of the first four Twins due up are left-handed.
• As for whether he needs extra relievers to get through 13 innings tomorrow, Girardi said he think the team will be alright, but he’ll talk to Brian Cashman about possibly having a pitcher on standby similar to when Jonathan Albaladejo was on standby during the Detroit doubleheader. “Obviously Serge can give you a lot of pitches,” Girardi said.
• The Yankees could have won this game had they taken advantage of that two-on, no-out situation in the fourth, but the heart of the order couldn’t so much as bring the lead runner to third base. “It’s all part of managing,” Girardi said. “It’s all understanding the ups and downs of the game and knowing that it’s going to change. It could change tomorrow.”
• Said Mark Teixeira: “It’s the ebb and flow of a season. Obviously we haven’t been swinging the bats like we’re capable of, but everyone’s working hard. Everyone’s trying to get the job done and I have a good feeling we’re going to bounce back.”
• Pretty funny line from Girardi about how quickly the crew got the tarp on the field, after not having a rain delay in this city in nearly 30 years: “I wonder how many times they practiced?”
• Teixeira on his personal struggles: “This is my eighth year. I’ve had a lot of ups, a lot of downs. I’ve never tried to reinvent myself.”
• No one thought to ask Girardi, but it could be interesting to see how he uses his catchers tomorrow. We could see Chad Moeller’s first start in the second game. Obviously you’d rather use Moeller in the shortened restart and save Francisco Cervelli for the full game, but that would mean taking Cervelli out of the first game and not having him available for those final four innings.