A.J. Burnett did little to hide his frustration tonight. He had allowed just four home runs through his first 11 starts this season. Tonight he allowed three.
“Fastball counts and they end up in the happy spot,” Burnett said. “That’s what they’re going to do with them.”
This Blue Jays team has proven it can hit home runs up and down the lineup, and no one in the major leagues has hit more than Jose Bautista. Even so, Burnett was frustrated because he didn’t pitch all that poorly except for the three home run balls. “My pitches pretty much stayed where I wanted them to expect for those three,” he said.
All three were fastballs that leaked over the middle of the plate, to nearly the exact same spot each time. Edwin Encarnacion’s home run was a two-seamer that didn’t get down enough, and Bautista’s second home run was a four-seamer that ran a little bit to the middle of the plate. But the one that bothered Burnett the most was Bautista’s solo shot in the second inning. With a full count, Burnett went two-seamer. He wishes he had gone four-seamer down and in.
“I think 3-2 in that situation, you’ve got to go four-seam,” he said. “If you miss off you walk him, but less chance of leaking over into the happy spot.”
That was his frustration. Three pitches left over the middle of the plate. Here’s Burnett talking about it postgame.
• Robinson Cano’s 17-game hitting streak came to an end with an 0-for-4 that included two strikeouts against Blue Jays starter Brett Cecil. “It’s just weird because we lost the game, not because I went 0-for-4,” he said. “Just start a new one tomorrow. Today is already over and just move on.”
• Speaking of Cecil, that guy deserves a lot of credit tonight. This Yankees lineup came in hot and he shut them down with an especially good changeup that the Yankees were expecting based on their scouting reports. “Even if you know what a guy has, if he’s executing his pitches, that’s execution over selection,” Curtis Granderson said. At 23 years old, Cecil is the youngest player on this roster. He’s also 6-2 with a 3.43 ERA.
• Can’t leave out Sergio Mitre, who had another strong outing in relief. Granted, not a high-leverage situation, but for a guy who seemed like an afterthought heading into spring training, he’s done very well this season.
• Hold on to those World Series rings everyone. Here’s a rather bizarre story from the lower levels of the Yankees minor league system. Apparently the Staten Island pitching coach has lost his ring and believes it was stolen under … umm … interesting circumstances.
• The Rangers still owe Alex Rodriguez a lot of money, and he’s going to play a role in their bankruptcy case.
• For anyone guessing a lineup tomorrow, don’t forget that Girardi has indicated that he was likely sit Granderson and play Francisco Cervelli tomorrow. Just something to keep in mind.
Associated Press photos of Burnett and Jeter.