A.J. Burnett officially has a season ERA that’s higher than last year. He’s sitting at 5.31 for the year, 7.79 since the beginning of July and 11.91 in the month of August. Burnett keeps talking about getting himself straightened out and getting on a roll, but the numbers suggest he’s rolling the wrong way.
“It’s not acceptable,” Burnett said. “But the bottom line is, I can’t worry about my numbers right now. Even if I pitch great the rest of the year, I’m still going to have bad numbers. I’ve got to get on good track. I’m going to get on a good track. I can’t worry about my ERA, my 9-11 record.
“I’ve got a lot of support in this room, and that’s probably the thing that bothers me most is you feel like you let guys down a little bit. I’m going out there and battling, so it’s more about me getting on the right path than about my numbers.”
As he’s been most of the season, Burnett tried to find the positives, but this wasn’t the upbeat Burnett we’ve heard time and time again. Tonight, he was more analytical. He didn’t try to paint himself as a pitcher who made some bad pitches, he was a pitcher making mistakes and not fixing him.
Burnett talked about not being aggressive inside, something he believes would make both his “hook” and “heater” more effective. Russell Martin talked about the importance of getting ahead in the count, leaving hitters something to think about other than a poorly located fastball. Joe Girardi talked about mechanical consistency, and the ability to command the fastball.
“I’m frustrated for him,” Girardi said. “You don’t want to see anyone struggle in this game. This game is hard. It’s tough to go through months like this, whether you’re a pitcher or a position player and you’re struggling and hitting .150 for the month. It’s tough; you’re frustrated for him. You want him to turn it around… Right now he’s really struggling. In 2009, he did some really good things for us. IN 2010, he started off great, then he got in a funk and had a hard time getting out of it. He started out pretty good this year, but he’s in another funk. He’s got to fight his way out of it.”
• The Yankees plan to fight the decision to play on their last remaining off day, but player rep Curtis Granderson admitted that he’s not sure they can change the decision. “The date hasn’t come, so moving stuff around still is possible even though it has been announced,” he said. “The fact that stuff can be moved around meant that today could have been moved around and it wasn’t. That’s the first and foremost. I just look at, when given the opportunity and everybody else made moves, why wasn’t the move made today.”
• Another thing that has the Yankees frustrated: They’ve been told that the Orioles want to play that Sept. 8 game at 7:05 p.m., leaving the Yankees with a night game immediately before they begin a West Coast trip.
• Ivan Nova will start the first game on Sunday’s double header, but Girardi’s not sure who will start the second.
• Burnett said it was a bad curveball that Mark Reynolds hit for that first home run of the second inning. It was Reynolds third home run in as many days, and it started a string of six-straight Orioles extra-base hits in the second. “The third inning I got mad and got aggressive and threw more pitches in, and things kind of changed,” Burnett said. “It’s just more about focusing and not doubting myself, which I didn’t do, but I’ve got to use that side of the plate.”
• Burnett had three wild pitches tonight and leads the Majors with 20 of them.
• Burnett admitted that it’s becoming harder to stay positive. “No doubt,” he said. “But then you’ve got to thank the guys in here for helping out in that regard. Guys are behind me 100 percent, and my family is behind me 100 percent. So that helps. If I didn’t believe in myself, I probably would be more negative, and more down on myself. But I know the stuff’s there, and I know how good I can be. It’s just a matter of doing it.”
• Girardi said he plans to have Burnett makes his next start, which will likely come at Fenway. “With all these doubleheaders, we gotta play games,” Girardi said. “We need six men.”
• Girardi said he didn’t have Hector Noesi available today, which mean Burnett had to stay out there even as he struggled. “I just didn’t have the people,” Girardi said. “Noesi’s thrown two out of three days, he’s a kid that hasn’t thrown back-to-back and he had thrown 30 pitches and 30 pitches. I just didn’t have the people tonight.”
• Robinson Cano has now hit safely in 17 straight game, the longest hitting streak by a Yankee this season. It’s his fourth career streak of at least 16 games.
• The Yankees have homered in 10 straight games, breaking their season-high streak. They’ve hit 22 homers in that stretch.
• Alex Rodriguez had his first home run since June 11 against Cleveland.
• Nick Swisher’s home run was measured at 412 feet and landed on Eutaw Street beyond right field. It’s the 57th homer to reach the street in Camden Yards history and the 33rd by an opponent.
• Girardi said no players have asked to go home tomorrow. Based on the clubhouse, it sounds like the guys are planning to ride out the hurricane here in Baltimore.
Associated Press photos