Category: Andruw Jones

Baltimore edges the Yankees in 11 after another shaky outing by Burnett

This was their fourth rain delay this season against the Orioles who came out on top 5-4 in extra innings over the Yankees in a game that featured six errors and 13 relievers.

Baltimore and New York’s starters each struggled giving up a combined eight runs.  Zach Britton who had been one of the Orioles better starters of late gave up all of the Yankees runs on five hits and four walks.

A.J. Burnett did not really do enough to deserve another start in this six-man rotation that should turn into the standard five-man one.  He allowed four runs on seven hits, with four walks and a homer.  This start proved again how unreliable he is since he allowed two runs in his start last week against the Red Sox but in his two starts before that one he allowed a combined 16 runs.

Burnett gave up a two run homer to Nolan Reimold, his ninth of the season, who is only hitting .231.  It is truly hard to fathom how Burnett gave up two runs by the Boston offense but could not limit the paltry Baltimore offense.

It seems like Hughes can be counted on to pitch more consistently than Burnett especially since he only has one win in his last 10 starts while Hughes has shown some dominance since coming off the disabled list.

The offensive stars for the Yankees were Jesus Montero and Alex Rodriguez as they drove in all of their four runs.  Rodriguez had a two-run double to deep center which drove in Russell Martin and Nick Swisher in the opening stanza, and Montero (5 RBI in 5 games) singled to deep right center which plated Rodriguez and Andruw Jones.

In the bottom of the sixth shortstop Robert Andino fielded a shot hop cleanly and it appeared that he would throw out Jesus Montero but Andino would receive an error because his throw to first sailed into the Yankee dugout.

In an effort to get the lead before the game was potentially called because of rain Manager Joe Girardi sent in Robinson Cano and Mark Teixiera.  Curtis Granderson was inserted into the lineup after Teixiera which would make a very imposing seven, eight and nine to round out the order.  Granderson hit a double to the wall in the seventh which had the potential of being a triple but he tripped after rounding first base.

However, his double to lead off the inning would go to waste as he would be stranded at third keeping the score at four. The Yankees squandered an opportunity to put the game away in that inning.

In the top of the eighth David Robertson dominated like normal but this time he struck out the side.  He used his cutter to perfection.

In the ninth inning Clay Rapada would pitch for the Orioles and he is very deceptive on left handed pitchers because he is a side arm pitcher.  The umpire went to the mound to try and force Rapada to put his foot on the rubber but it appeared as if his foot stayed off the rubber for the rest of the at-bat against Cano.  Rapada would get Granderson to fly out to the catcher and with that Buck Showalter would make yet another pitching change.

Pedro Strop would come into the game becoming the Orioles seventh pitcher on the afternoon.  Strop, a converted shortstop, has a 3.09 ERA in 10 appearances, two for the Orioles and eight for the Rangers.  He would get Eduardo Nunez to ground out to Andino at short to force extra innings in a game filled with errors.

To start the “free baseball” Hector Noesi struck out Chris Davis to give him five on the afternoon, as well as a grand total of 20 in his last 40 at bats.  Noesi would go on to strike out the side as he has filled his role adequately in relief this season.

Russell Martin picked up his second hit of the contest to lead-off the bottom of the 10th, but the next three batters would get out in order.  Martin was the only Yankee who played the whole game to come away with two hits and he also had his second consecutive game with multiple hits.  After pinch hitting for Ramiro Pena, Granderson got a hit in two out of his three at bats.

Nunez came away with an error after failing to pick up the fast short hop by Matt Angle.  That was the fourth error of the game and committing so many miscues makes it difficult to win games, but the wet conditions certainly don’t help.  Joe Girardi left Noesi in one inning too long as he threw a wild pitch to Reimold and the feast or famine Mark Reynolds hit an RBI single.

Eduardo Nunez had the chance to be the hero in the bottom of the eleventh and make up for committing his 18th error, but Girardi decided to replace him with Eric Chavez with runners on first and third.  This strategic move proved to be an instance of over-analyzing because Chavez would ground into a fielder’s chance to end the game.

The Yankees offense should not have been held scoreless for six innings off of an Orioles bullpen that features the previously mentioned converted shortstop, a reliever making his fourth career appearance in Zach Phillips and four who all have more than a 4.15 ERA.

A reason for only scoring four runs in 11 innings is that they did horribly in clutch situations once again.  Four players including Swisher, Cano, Montero and Chavez left runners on base with two outs and overall the team left nine runners on base.  It is very important to drive runners in with ducks on the pond and in this game the Yankees could not convert off of mediocre pitchers.

It also would have helped if Martin would have thrown out some of the base stealers as three of the five stolen bases off of him came around to score.  If he would have thrown out two or even three of them that might have caused a different outcome.

Burnett is now the first pitcher in history to have eight games in his career with three wild pitches.  The Yankees

The Yankees will try and win the series (3-1) tonight behind Ivan Nova who strong candidate for Rookie of the Year.  He has now gone eight consecutive starts with a win and has not picked up a loss since June 3rd helping him to a remarkable 15-4 record.  Nova does not crumble under pressure and he has even improved his pitch location and execution after allowing one or two early runs.

They are 8-2 in their last 10 games helping them stay 2.5 games ahead of Boston.

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Yankees hope to have more fans today after winning a game that ended at 2:05 a.m.

After a 4 hour and 3 minute rain delay, and about 1,000 brave souls in the stands, Phil Hughes was finally able to throw the first pitch in a game that the Yankees would not win until 2:15 a.m.

For the second run of the game, Francisco Cervelli hit a long fly ball just in front of the warning track and it appeared that the left-fielder what make the catch.  However, as a result of all the wind and rain, the ball went in and out of Matt Angle’s glove, so he advanced to second and Jorge Posada scored.  Posada had earlier hit a solo homer so he had scored both of the runs through five innings.

The error by Angle would be the first of three Orioles’ miscues during the game but only one error would lead to an unearned run.

Hughes cruised through the first five innings, keeping the Orioles off the scoreboard while only allowing three hits.  This proves that he was able to locate his pitches well but it was not all that promising that he had thrown 91 pitches to that point.

In the top of the sixth, the second to last batter Hughes would face was Matt Wieters and he would hit a long home run to deep right that scored the possible Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero.  Hughes rebounded well, especially considering the conditions he was pitching in, after allowing 12 runs combined in his last two starts.

The Yankees would score all of their runs off of Orioles starter Tommy Hunter.  He was acquired by the Orioles in a July 30th, pre deadline deal which would send Hunter and Chris Davis to the Orioles and Koji Uehara to the Texas Rangers.

In the bottom of the sixth inning Mark Teixiera singled to right for his 102nd RBI, which scored Derek Jeter after he had singled earlier in the inning.  Finally, in the bottom of the seventh inning the usually light hitting duo of Cervelli and Brett Gardner would hit back-to-back homers to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead, and close out the scoring. 

Cervelli hit only his fifth home run and fourth this season, during his 180 game career with the Yankees as the back-up catcher. However, this was a disputed home run that can be compared the Jeffrey Maier incident back in the first-round of 1996 playoffs since that was against the Orioles as well.

This play can not exactly be compared with the famous play in 96 that helped the Yankees win the playoff game because Angle was not planted under the ball like Tony Tarasco was on Jeter’s homer.  There were much less than 1,000 drenched fans at the stadium at this point, and the ball just so happened to touch the hands of two people as they were reaching over the left-field wall. 

Corey Wade would get his second win in his last four appearances out of the bullpen, once again proving to be a gem of a signing by General Manager Brian Cashman since he only has a 2.05 ERA, and nobody really made a big deal when he was acquired.  Mariano Rivera would lock-down his 39th save of the season in order, and is now only four saves away from overtaking Trevor Hoffman as the all-time leader.     

The Yankees brain-trust executed yet another admirable gesture by saying that anyone who had bought a ticket to the game, but decided not to attend because of the adverse conditions, can exchange this ticket for any 2012 game. 

Both teams have a very fast turnaround as last night/this morning’s game ended only about 10 hours and 45 minutes before today’s game is scheduled to start.  It does not really make sense that they played the game last night, since there was such an increased chance for injury, but the Yankees got the win to keep them 2.5 games ahead of the Red Sox, which is the bottom line. 

 Joe Girardi is sending out what looks like a Spring Training lineup on first glance, but when one looks at it more closely it makes sense to give many starters a day of rest after the marathon like game last night.  There is also only one more off day before the playoffs begin.  Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixiera and Brett Gardner will all be getting the game off.  Their replacements will be Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pena, Greg Golson, Brandon Laird and Andruw Jones.

Jesus Montero will also be getting another start after his two homer game where he was the savior on Monday.  Hopefully he will be able to lead the offense along with Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Alex Rodriguez and Jones 

A.J. Burnett will get the start for the Yankees and it will be interesting to see if he will be able to defeat the elements after having a much needed respectable start against the Red Sox on Thursday where he allowed two runs in 5.1 innings.  Girardi said two days ago that he will keep Hughes and Burnett in the rotation for at least on more turn so we will see how Burnett performs against a much less imposing lineup.      

If Burnett allows three runs or less then that will make Girardi’s decision interesting but if the allows more than three then Hughes should remain in the rotation because Burnett is too much of a question mark. 

Zach Britton will take the hill for the Orioles and he held the Yankees offense scoreless during seven innings 10 days ago.  Britton has likely been O’s most reliable starter of late only allowing three runs in his last three starts.  In his career against the Yankees, which only includes three stars he has a 3.77 ERA, but this season on the road his ERA sits at 6.32, which is nothing to write home about. 

It seems like the elements will play a role in the game once again because it has been raining off and on all morning.  Nobody knows how much the rain will affect Burnett but it is possible that he will be able to limit the Orioles like he did against the Red Sox since their offense is much less potent.      

Jesus makes his Yankees debut, but the series win over Boston was highlighted by Burnett and Martin

There were many positives during this game, however, the one that stands out is that A.J. Burnett actually pitched the Yankees to victory, only allowing two runs.

I still think he should be taken out of the rotation, as he allowed 16 runs in two starts before this one, and his ERA is still 5.25, but now Girardi at least as a legitimate decision to make after Phil Hughes struggled so much in his last start.

Not many had confidence in Burnett coming into this game, but something was able to click in his brain allowing him to pitch like he was still a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.  What he was a starter for the Blue Jays he was consistently effective (2.56 ERA in eight starts) instead of consistently ineffective in eight starts before this one for the Yankees (8.71 ERA and zero wins).

Jon Lester had struggled in his three previous starts against the Yankees this season, but he will likely be somewhere in the top 10 in the CY Young with his 3.09 ERA, so it is not surprising that he only gave up one run in five innings.

Lester likely would have been able to pitch deeper into the contest if it was not for his very eventful top of the first.

David Ortiz hit a hard single to right, in the second inning, which gave him a 15 game hitting streak.

In the top of the third Andruw Jones missed a double by inches as his towering line drive just missed hitting the foul line on the Green Monster.  However, unfortunately he would go on to strike out looking on a 2-2 count.

Jones would go 0-1 with three walks but more importantly he has hit more like the hitter he was with the Braves for much of the second half of the season because of an advice from a somewhat unlikely source.  Jones would receive a call during the All-Star break from his mother who said that she didn’t like the way he was setting his legs in his batting stance.

Amazingly, during what was Burnett’s best start since June 29th, he only gave up Dustin Pedroia’s two run blast in the bottom of the fourth.  This would score MVP candidate Adrian Gonzalez, and would prove that Burnett is actually capable of adjusting to adversity.

With one out in the fifth inning Robinson Cano hit a long double into the triangle in center-field on Lester’s 100th pitch.  That double was Cano’s 39th of the season. Swisher bunted with one out which is very puzzling because he is one of the better RBI men on the team. They were down by a run and he could have driven in Cano with a single.

Jesus Montero would bat in top of the fifth with a chance to be the savior, but the nerves of playing in his first big league game and facing Lester got to him as he grounded out to shortstop.

Mark Teixiera got hit right on the knee to load the bases after Derek Jeter singled off of the Green Monster and Curtis Granderson walked.  At least that was not a fastball or he would have been badly hurt.  However, the Yankees failed again with men on base as Cano grounded out to third.

In the sixth inning, with david Ortiz batting, Burnett threw a pitch with a 3-2 count that appeared to be strike three on the outside corner but the umpire called it a ball.  Joe Girardi made the correct decision taking him out of the game at that point.  Burnett had allowed a single to Pedroia before that walk, and it was smart not to take any risks with AJ pitching.

To end the sixth inning Curtis Granderson made an outstanding diving catch to prevent two runs from scoring.  This also kept Burnett’s line at two runs, which is impressive.

One of the Yankees best prospects, Jesus Montero, who is known for his hitting, left a total of six runners on base in his first three at bats.  He would not do any damage in his fourth at bat but at least he was able to get himself to first via getting hit on his jersey.

With runners on first and second, Russell Martin decided to come through in the clutch, after so many had not earlier in the game.  Chris Dickerson, who had pinch run and Montero, scored giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead.  Eric Chavez would hit a single to send Martin home, while would set the Yankees up for victory as their dominating bullpen options were on deck.

In the bottom of the ninth, Mariano Rivera surprisingly walked two hitters and give up a single before Adrian Gonzalez came to the plate.  He just wanted to make the game bottom of the ninth interesting as   Gonzalez would be called out on a checked swing to give the Yankees the victory and with the win they are now tied in the loss column with Boston.

The Yankees stranded nine base runners in the first five innings which would be a theme that luckily did not cost them the win.  They would go on to leave 13 men on base and would leave runners in scoring position with two outs six times, with Montero being the culprit three times in his debut.  On the other hand, Boston would be equally hurt by leaving 10 runners on base.

Another major reason that the Yankees got the upper hand in this game was that their bullpen vastly outperformed the Red Sox’ relievers.

Former Yankee pitcher Alfred Aceves, who can do a little of everything (and who choose number 91 after Dennis Rodman) gave up Martin’s double and in the process surrendering his teams lead.  Daniel Bard would allow the Yankees to have a two-run cushion as the Yankees best three relievers were set to enter the game.  Eric Chavez would close out the scoring off of Daniel Bard, with an RBI single, and he has improved his average 21 points since August 28 (this drastic increase is partly because he is a part-time player).

However, for the Yankees, their relievers only gave up one hit in 3.2 innings.  Corey Wade (2.17), who would get the team out of the fifth inning and pick up the win, was signed on June 13th and has proven to be one of the better mid-season, under the radar, acquisitions by GM Brian Cashman.

The impressive back of the bullpen trio of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera imposed their will like normal, but they just had to work around four walks between them.

Rivera got Gonzalez out on his patented cutter which has to be one of the best single pitches of all-time.  The best closer in baseball history will soon be official as he is now five saves away from 600 and seven away from Trevor Hoffman’s all-time saves record. He could accomplish this feat in late September.

They now begin six game home-stand against division foes Toronto and Baltimore (with one on the road because of Hurricane Irene) who are in fourth and fifth place, respectively.  Boston will now face Texas and Toronto in their next six games as the neck-and-neck division race is bound to continue until the last few days of September.

3 straight homers by the Yankees highlight an effective end to the doubleheader

Ivan Nova was super once again, pitching seven effective innings, while not wasting the offensive explosion, during the 8-3 victory in the second game of the doubleheader.  He became the first Yankees rookie to win at least 10 straight decisions in one season since Atley Donald won 12 straight in 1939.

Nova allowed one run in each of the first three innings, as Adam Jones would drive in two of those runs. Nova leads all rookies with his 14 wins, and pitches very well with a lead.  Some pitchers will crumble and buckle under pressure with a lead, but Nova excels.

However, the story of this game was how the Yankees offense put on yet another remarkable display.

Curtis Granderson turned around his slump with a vengeance as he hit a three run home run in the third.  His 37th home run, in the top of the third, nearly made it onto Eutaw Street and it put the Yankees up 3-2.  He is now in sole possession for the major league lead in homers.

Granderson drove in Eric Chavez and Brett Gardner, who have both been in slumps recently.  Chevez’s slump has been more pronounced as he is only 4-25, but at least he is not an everyday player.

The home run barrage off of Orioles starter Brian Matusz would continue a Cano hit an opposite field home run in the top of the sixth, to break the tie and send the Yankees up 5-3.  That was the first of back-to-back-to-back homers which would make the score 7-3.  Nick Swisher sent one over the fences off of Matusz to end his night and send him to the showers.

The next two pitchers could not avoid the long ball as well.  Chris Jakubauskas, struck out two batters but he also gave up Andruw Jones’s 11th homer of the season. Granderson hit his second home run off of journey man giant Mark Hendrickson.

An interesting not about the three consecutive homers in the sixth is that the last time the Yankees did so it also came against the Orioles.  That date was May 20, 2009, and Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano joined the party on that day as well.

Another positive about Granderson is that he has totally turned around his offensive production against lefties.  He used to struggle against them but ever since his meeting with hitting coach Kevin Long, last August, he has been a new hitter from both sides of the plate.  He now leads the majors with 15 long balls off of lefties and has just passed Cano for most RBI against them.

This is the offensive outburst that was expected against the Orioles, and especially Brian Matusz because he had an 8.92 ERA coming into the game, now 9.07, and even though he has not been in the rotation the whole season he has likely been the worst starter in the American League.

David Robertson had not allowed a run in his last 12 appearances.  He entered the game with the score 8-3, and runners on first and second.  He would go on to allow a single to Adam Jones.  Since it was hit right to Nick Swisher in right, J.J. Hardy was stranded at third.  Robertson got the free swinging Vladimir Guerero to strike out on a pitch that was well out of the strike zone. Another hitter who does not take many pitches, Mark Reynolds, was Robertson’s next victim, as he struck out for the third time.  He then struck out Ryan Adams for the trifecta, pulling off the impressive feat of striking out three men with the bases loaded.

This was a truly remarkable outing by Robertson, also known as Houdini. He had the correct mindset as he threw mainly pitches out of the zone against Guerrero and Reynolds because he knew they were apt to be overly aggressive.  Now, out of the 44 batters he has faced with the bases loaded he has struck out 23 of them.

Baltimore’s bullpen has been suspect as well, so they were due for a down game after having won six straight.  Hopefully this will be the start of a long winning streak for the Yankees as they start a three- game series, in Boston, against the Red Sox, on Tuesday.  They are now two games behind Boston, who has won three out of their last four.

In an effort to give the Yankees a split of the four-game set, Freddy Garcia (3.16 ERA) will pitch during the series finale on Monday, which will be his first start since coming off of the disabled list.  He has the advantage against O’s starter Alfred Simon, who only has four wins and 4.30 ERA.  However, in his last start, he only allowed the Twins offense to score one run over a career high eight innings.

It is also possible that he will not see Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez in the lineup, who could continue to be out with minor injuries.

 

Yankees allow 6 runs once again, but this time come just short in extra innings

Trevor Cahill (4.13 ERA), who is coming off an All-Star season, in 2010, limited the Yankees to two runs through six innings, and the Bronx Bombers could not score enough runs off of the Athletics bullpen to prevent losing the game, 6-4 in extra innings, one day after the earthquake.

Robinson Cano upped his hitting streak to 15 in the fourth inning with a double between the centerfielder and right fielder that went to the wall.  Later in the inning, with runners on second and third, Eduardo Nunez came up and hit a ball that bounced on home plate and dribbled ahead.  He did not run thinking it was foul and was called out.  He was mystified but the umpire was correct.

Francisco Cervelli was the next batter and he is somebody in particular who usually seizes the moment with ducks on the pond, but this time he did not convert.

However, Cervelli would make up for his blunder in the bottom of the fourth by throwing a bullet to Cano at second to get out Scott Sizemore who was trying to steal.  Sizemore’s single was only the Athletics third hit of the game off of Sebathia, who rebounded well after a rocky first inning.

Over his last 12 games Jeter is hitting .521, but as a result of his wild swing at a pitch out of the zone in the fifth he failed at his attempt to finally reach .300.  That is OK because he has been a totally new hitter since coming off the DL, hitting like he did in 2009 when he finished third in the MVP voting.

Jemile Weeks, younger brother of Milwaukee Brewers star Rickie Weeks, who has speed similar to Brett Gardner, led off the sixth inning with what appeared to be a triple, but Cano made a picture perfect throw to nail him at third.  Curtis Granderson started the perfect relay with a strong throw to Cano.

Swisher hit what appeared to be a critical home run in the bottom of the sixth, into the Yankees bullpen, after falling feet away from being the hero last night.  He is one player who did everything in his power to help the Yankees win as Cahill kept the offense off guard to that point.

Sebathia continued his stellar pitching as he retired the Athletics in order in the top of the seventh, on only six pitches.

With Hideki Matsui surprisingly playing left field and not DH, Eduardo Nunez hit a ground ball down the third base line that hit the indentation, for a double.  Cervelli executed a perfect bunt for a single to set the Yankees up for a potential big inning. Cahill was then removed by A’s manager Bob Geren (and Bob Saget look-a-like), and Brian Fuentes would go on to retire the next three batters in order.

With two outs in the eighth inning, and Sizemore coming up to bat, Joe Girardi acted like he was going to bring in David Robertson but decided not to.  He will probably regret that decision as Sizemore got his third hit tying the game at two.

To end the top of the eighth Matsui hit a hard line drive to Derek Jeter, who was able to double Weeks off at second.  However, the damage had already been done off of the usually shutdown Robertson as he allowed a single to Crisp, which scored Sizemore.

The home run barrage over recent games would continue as Mark Teixeira smacked a very deep home run to right-center.  This was the first run Grant Balfour had allowed in his last six appearances and with that mammoth shot he tied Granderson with the team lead.  Posada continued his utter dominance against Balfour as he now five for six against the journeyman reliever.

Rivera would pitch a one-two-three top of the ninth and the Yankees would come to bat in the ninth with a chance at a walk-off victory and for a lucky player to receiver a pie in the face.

Soriano came in to pitch the tenth, but the inning did not start so well as Sizemore got his fourth hit to put runners on first and second.  Crisp delivered a dagger off of Soriano, with two outs, which was his fifth RBI of the evening.

Nick Swisher would hit his third home run in his last two games to reduce the Athletics lead to two runs.  Unfortunately, Andruw Jones would go onto strike out to end the game, meaning that the best the Yankees can do is win one out of three against the fourth place Athletics.

Sebathia has been a true work-horse for the Yankees, pitching seven innings or more in 13 out of his last 14 starts but, on this night, the relatively light hitting Crisp could not be contained.  He is hitting a robust .414 against the Yankees this season, and almost single handedly defeated them.  Crisp has been known for his uniquely amazing name, his 70’s style afro for a short period, as well as his speed but never really for his power.

It is not a good sign that the Yankees have already lost the series to the Athletics, who are 12 games below .500, even though they have a chance to salvage a game tomorrow.  Soriano had his first truly forgettable outing since returning from the disabled list, as he had allowed only two hits and one earned run, in eight appearances since his return.

Granderson had a rare off day at the plate but was one half of the tandem that helped prevent Weeks from getting a triple.  Once again, not hitting with men on base hurt the Yankees, as they had 11 hits but nine runners left on base.  They also did not come through in the clutch four times with runners in scoring position and two outs, with Cervelli being the culprit twice.

It is also disappointing that the Yankees lost after a solid start from their ace while the Red Sox defeated much superior competition in the form of the Texas Rangers, behind their ace, Josh Beckett.  The Yankees find themselves down by a game, needing a win during tomorrow’s matinee game against Oakland, behind Phil Hughes, who has two wins and a 3.87 ERA during his last three starts.

Burnett implodes against the Twins, replacements seem ready in the minors

During Saturday evening’s game at Target Field against the Minnesota Twins A.J. Burnett had yet another disappointing pitching performance during the 9-4 loss.  His line of 1.2 innings, five hits, seven earned runs, three walks and one home run allowed was even filled with controversy this time.

Burnett’s inexcusable behavior entailed going on an expletive laced rampage after being taken out of the game by Joe Girardi with the bases loaded.  Girardi impressively denied that there was any major issue between him and Burnett when questioned about why he stormed into the locker-room after taking him out.  He claimed it was because he was trying to look at a pitch that was questionably called a ball but the real reason should materialize soon.

Burnett repeatedly says that he has to do better and he will figure things out soon but that excuse is getting old.  His ineffectiveness will only hurt the Yankees going down the stretch.  His performance included allowing three consecutive walks before being pulled from the game, two doubles, a wild pitch and 28 pitches in the first inning.

Burnett appeared to have his spot safe in the rotation since Freddy Garcia went on the disabled list earlier in the day on Saturday, but as of now he should miss at least one start.  Right now, before Sunday’s game, they are tied for first place with the Red Sox, so they team needs somebody who can be relied upon to give quality starts.

Some candidates from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre include Adam Warren who has a 3.33 ERA in 137 innings, D.J Mitchell who has a 3.49 ERA in 141 innings and Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos who have only made four and one starts, respectively, but are highly rated prospects.  The two top choices should be Warren who has had spent the whole year at AAA, or Banuelos because he has made three more starts at AAA than Betances.

Either way, any of those four offers more potential than Burnett, who usually fades even if he pitches four solid innings.  However, replacing Burnett with one of those four in the minors does not seem very likely because Girardi and GM Brian Cashman seem to have so much confidence in him partly because they don’t want to give up on the huge investment.

On the offensive side, the Yankees managed to score four runs, but only two players really stood out against Francisco Liriano who didn’t allow any earned runs in seven innings.  Eduardo Nunez picked up two hits for his third multi hit game in his last four, and Andruw Jones hit a home run during his second consecutive game.

The Yankees only scored one earned run during the first seven innings off of Liriano, which is not all that surprising because even though he has a high 4.85 ERA right now he was an All-Star in 2006 and last season he finished with a 3.62 ERA (finishing 11th in the CY Young).  He has a lot of potential when not injured so if Burnett would not have exploded, both mentally and in the pitching department, they would have had a chance.

Ivan Nova is pitching on Sunday while Nick Blackburn is the starter for the Twins.  Blackburn is not nearly the pitcher that Liriano is, so the offense should not struggle like it did on Saturday during Alex Rodriguez’s return from surgery.  With a victory the Bronx Bombers will have won five out of seven during their Midwest road-trip through Kansas City and Minneapolis.

If Nova is able to get the victory he will become the first rookie starter for the Yankees to win eight or more in a row since Whitey Ford achieved the feat in 1950.  He will also be continuing his bid for the Rookie of the Year.

>Lineups, pitchers and analysis for Game 3 against the Red Sox

>Freddy Garcia (2-2, 2.61) vs. Jon Lester (4-1, 2.96)

Yankees 20-17, 13-10 at home
Derek Jeter SS .267
Curtis Granderson CF .281
Mark Teixeira 1B .252
Alex Rodriguez 3B .254
Robinson Cano 2B .252
Nick Swisher RF C .222
Andruw Jones DH .229
Russell Martin C .245
Brett Gardner LF .259
Red Sox 19-20, 8-11 on the road
Jacoby Ellsbury CF .301
Dustin Pedroia 2B .253
Adrian Gonzalez 1B .325
Kevin Youkilis 3B .240
David Ortiz DH .284
J.D. Drew SS .238
Jed Lowrie RF .325
Carl Crawford LF .213
Jarod Saltamacchia C .203
One through five in the Yankees order is status quo but Posada is out of the lineup a day after he said he needed a “mental day”.  It is unclear if Posada has the night off because of his horrible stats against Lester or because of his actions from Saturday.  At least Posada has handled himself better today than yesterday since he said all the right things to Girardi today.
“I just talked to Girardi, and I kind of apologized to him. Just had a bad day.  Had a bad day yesterday.  Reflecting on it and stuff, everything, all the frustration just came out.”
 
Swisher and Jones move up from the bottom of the order, but it is somewhat confusing that Martin is batting eighth because he should be hitting sixth based on his stats compared to Swisher.  The Red Sox will have Saltamacchia doing the catching instead of Varitek who was behind the plate last night.  The Yankees failure with the runners in scoring position has continued in the first two games against the Red Sox, so hopefully they will be able to flip the switch against Lester.  This will be a challenge against Lester, but maybe he will pitch more like he did in his last start against Toronto, where he gave up five runs, than his six dominating starts before that.  Also, Garcia will need to hold the Red Sox to three runs or less and the Yankees must play fundamental baseball in the field.