AJ Keeps Rolling In Yanks 7-4 Win

Finally, I have something to write about.  With Monday’s off day and Tuesday’s rain out, I’ve been pretty bored.  There are only so many things you can right about this early in the season.  But we had baseball last night and some good baseball.  Behind AJ Burnett, the Yankees took the first game of now a two game set by a score of 7-4.

(Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger)

The night didn’t start off great for AJ.  Sure he didn’t allow any runs through the first two innings, but he did throw 53 pitches over that span.  Even though Chris Tillman only lasted 1.2 innings while allowing six runs, I didn’t think Burnett would last much longer.  But I was wrong and he settled way down.  He had a six pitch third and from there his performance started to take shape as he was at 82 pitches through 5.

His final line would wind up being 6.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 112 PC.  Sure he gave up four runs, but they all came in the seventh when the Yankees already had a 7-0 lead.  This bad inning can probably be blamed on AJ pitching to the scoreboard.  Overall, the Yankees have to be thrilled with what they have gotten from him as he now has more wins than the Boston Red Sox.  He also mixed in his change up 16 times and says now that he has confidence in it.  Let’s not be too optimistic though because last season he started out 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA and wound up having his worst season ever.

You can see from this plot that Burnett was able to keep his change low which made it effective.

With a pretty lengthy performance from a starter, the bullpen had a simple task in front of them: get the last eight outs.  Girardi went to David Robertson to retire the last two hitters in the seventh, Rafael Soriano for the eighth and Mariano Rivera to close it out in the ninth.  The back end of the Yankee bullpen proved again that it is fierce by striking out three in 2.2 innings and only allowing one hit.

After everyone was getting worried about the top three in the lineup, they came through big time last night.  Derek Jeter went two for four with an RBI and two runs scored, Mark Teixeira was two for three with two runs scored, and Brett Gardner also added a hit.  In fact, five of the first Yankee six hitters got hits in the first inning.  Alex Rodriguez hit his fourth homer opposite field in the first and Jorge Posada hit his fourth as well in the fifth.  The only starter who did not have a hit was Curtis Granderson, but he did walk.

A-Rod clubbing his first inning homer to give the Yanks an early lead. (Reuters/Ray Stubblebine)

So after two very boring nights of no Yankees baseball, they came out strong and earned a solid win and are now tied for first place in the American League East.  Tonight Phil Hughes will toe the rubber and will try to rid himself of the woes he had in his first two starts.  First pitch will be at 7:05 on YES.

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