• July 17th Vs. The Rays

    Posted by on July 17th, 2010 · Comments (22)

    A.J. Burnett lost this game for the Yankees. First, it was allowing back-to-back two-out hits in the first leading to a run being score followed by allowing a HBP and a homer in the second after retiring the first two batters in that frame. Then, it was a Doyle Alexander/Kevin Brown act of stupidity that lead to him coming out of the game in the third inning. That quick exit brought cause for Dustin Moseley and Chad Gaudin – two pitchers who probably don’t belong in the majors right now – to enter the game and allow it to get out of hand. (No pun intended, A.J.)

    Hey, this is what you get with A.J. Burnett. Sure, the walk-off pies are all the rage with the under thirty crowd. But, look at Burnett’s lifetime stats. On a 162-Game Average, he’s good for 34 starts and 218 innings pitched – but, with a win-loss mark of 14-12. Yes, he wins less than half his starts and loses just about as many games as he wins. Just look at last season, in a great Yankees team year, he made 33 starts, won 13 and lost 9 games.

    I know, I know, many want to talk about his Game 2 start in the World Series last year. But, that was one game. Otherwise, check out his 2009 post-season starts:

    Rk   Series Date Tm   Opp Rslt Inngs IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP
    1 2009 ALDS g2 Oct 9 NYY   MIN W,4-3 GS-6 6.0 3 1 1 5 6 0 2
    2 2009 ALCS g2 Oct 17 NYY   LAA W,4-3 GS-7 6.1 3 2 2 2 4 0 2
    3 2009 ALCS g5 Oct 22 NYY @ LAA L,6-7 GS-7 6.0 8 6 6 3 3 0 0
    4 2009 WS g2 Oct 29 NYY   PHI W,3-1 GS-7 7.0 4 1 1 2 9 0 0
    5 2009 WS g5 Nov 2 NYY @ PHI L,6-8 GS-3 2.0 4 6 6 4 2 1 1
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 7/17/2010.

    .

    Twice, in Game 5 starts, he blew it, badly – and Andy Pettitte had to bail him out the next game.

    The worst part of all this? The Yankees are paying Burnett $16,500,000 a season – making him one of the highest paid pitchers in the game. And, they’ll be doing this for the next three seasons after this year. Great move by Brian Cashman on this one.

    But, then again, he knows that by now – which is why he tried so hard to trade for Cliff Lee this season. With the Yankees starting rotation this season it’s: Sabathia and Pettitte and then roll the dice to see what’s going to show up with Burnett, Vazquez and Hughes. Sure, at times the latter three can be stunning – but, you can never be sure if that’s going to happen or not.

    Comments on July 17th Vs. The Rays

    1. clintfsu813
      July 17th, 2010 | 11:10 pm

      Sabathia and Pettitte and then roll the dice to see what’s going to show up with Burnett, Vazquez and Hughes. Sure, at times the latter three can be stunning – but, you can never be sure if that’s going to happen or not.

      Lets look at our main competition for comparison:
      Its Lackey and Lester and then roll the dice. Sure Beckett, Wakefield and Dice-K can be stunning – but you can never be sure if thats going to happen or not.

      Its Neimann and Price and then roll the dice. Sure Garza, Shields and Davis can be stunning – but you can never be sure if thats going to happen or not.

    2. ken
      July 17th, 2010 | 11:35 pm

      clintfsu813 wrote:

      Its Lackey and Lester and then roll the dice.

      Ummm…. Most BOS (and LAA) fans would put Lackey in the roll the dice category.

      On Bill Simmons’ podcast back when BOS signed Lackey, Simmons told the story of his LA friends wishing him well with their new acquisition. He likened it to buying a used car from a friend who knew the car’s real in’s and out’s: “Enjoy the car!”

    3. Evan3457
      July 18th, 2010 | 1:15 am

      1) Burnett’s OTHER starts besides the two game 5 debacles include a very good game against the Twins, which would’ve been a win, except the Yanks decided to score one run for him, and a good game in game 2 against the Angels, in which, again, the Yanks only scored 2 runs while he was in there. That’s STILL 3 good starts against two awful ones.

      (And I might also point out in game 5 vs. the Angels, they beat the heck out of him in the 1st inning, but he went out there and threw 5 shutout innings to keep it from getting worse, then he sat on the bench while the Yanks staged a 6-run rally in which they sent 10 men to the plate and there were two pitching changes, and Girardi still sent him out there for the bottom of the 7th because he didn’t trust his middle relief. Then he gave up a hit and a walk and then Girardi pulled him anyway. Marte did his job, but Hughes, needing one out to get out of the inning, collasped.)

      2) Only 7 pitchers in the AL won more than half their starts last season. Of these, only 3 are doing it again this season (One is in the NL now; Halladay). That’s a mighty high standard.

      3) But he’s being paid like an elite pitcher, so he should perform like an elite pitcher? Nope. Paying somebody more because that’s what the market demands doesn’t mean the level of his pitching rises to meet his salary level. The Yanks paid Burnett that money because 1) they needed a solid starter, 2) he was the best one out there after Sabathia, who they’d already signed, and 3) there was a competitive bid from the Braves. That’s all.

      4) “Great move by Brian Cashman on this one”? No, it wasn’t great. But he did help them win a title last year, and that doesn’t suck.

      5) AJ also pitched great in what was arguably the most important game of the regular season as well, dueling Beckett pitch for pitch for 7 plus innings, in the game that Rodriguez won in the 15th with the HR off Tazawa.

      Why do I say that game was important? Because the previous night, the Yanks beat up on Smoltz for their 1st win of the year vs. the Sox. That made a 2 1/2 game lead into a 3 1/2 game lead. The Yanks hadn’t won a “real game” vs. the Sox yet. Had the Sox taken game 2, and with Lester pitching game 4, the Yanks might’ve lost the series, and with it, any good feelings they had after the 1st game.

      Beckett shut down that great Yankee offense for 7 innings. Burnett last 7 2/3, holding the Sox to 1 hit, while walking 6. It was the only good game he pitched against the Sox for the Yanks to date, but it was huge at the time.

      6) Try naming a team that won a title that didn’t have a “roll the dice” starter in its playoff rotation since the late 90′s dynasty declined. You can’t do it.

    4. Raf
      July 18th, 2010 | 2:50 am

      I know, I know, many want to talk about his Game 2 start in the World Series last year.

      I don’t consider myself part of that ‘many.’ Burnett is what he is, the girl with the curl. Has been for his career. I don’t expect much more than that.

      But, then again, he knows that by now – which is why he tried so hard to trade for Cliff Lee this season.

      Ah, no. He tried to trade for Cliff Lee, because he was Cliff Lee, not because of Burnett. Just like he tried to trade for Clemens after a record setting season. That was successful, the Lee attempt wasn’t.

    5. Raf
      July 18th, 2010 | 2:55 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      6) Try naming a team that won a title that didn’t have a “roll the dice” starter in its playoff rotation since the late 90’s dynasty declined. You can’t do it.

      Why limit it to the decline of the late 90′s dynasty?

    6. July 18th, 2010 | 3:57 am

      Two words, Cliff Lee. This explains to those who don’t get it the need for an additional starter. A.J. is a head case, at this point we have to deal with that. This guy could be lights out in the postseason or he might not be able to get out of the second inning, there is no way to tell. See what Houston wants for Oswalt, and make the deal if possible. I think the Yanks can win it all this year, some relief help and an additional starter may be all that it takes. As we learned after 1978 and 2000, the opportunities for a championship can disappear quickly and what you leave on the table you can live to regret. I have often thought of Jeff Nelson and what might have happened back in 2001 in the 8th inning of game 7, if he had still been with the Yankees. Can you imagine an exhausted Rivera having to only pitch one inning that Sunday night. I sure can.

    7. Scout
      July 18th, 2010 | 7:34 am

      This coming off-season, the Yankees will do all they can to add Lee to the rotation. If they succeed, next year the rotation will begin with C.C. and Lee, followed by Hughes, who should be ready to move into something close to a featured role and will certainly be a solid starter. A.J. will be pushed back to #4, which is where he belongs. Were Pettitte to return, A.J. would fall to #5.

      Remember when evalutating Cashman’s signing of Burnett that he was the best choice from a very limited pool of pitching talent on the free agent market. There were (and are) real questions about the other arms in 2008-2009, such as Lowe. None was a great pick; all were overpaid. That’s what happens when you have to depend for talent on free agency — you pay more than the talent justifies.

      Behind this story, then, is the long-term failure of the Yankees to develop and retain talent from within in the late 1990s and early 2000s. We’ve covered that ground before. A lot of people share responsibility for that failure, include George Steinbrenner, the Tampa front office, and Cashman.

    8. Molon Labe
      July 18th, 2010 | 8:34 am

      Hmmm….

      Self-inflicted injury. Unable to perform.

      VOID HIS CONTRACT!

    9. July 18th, 2010 | 9:41 am

      Another thing to note on Burnett.

      He’s 33 years old and been pitching FT in the bigs for the last decade. This is not some 24 year old kid learning the ropes. WYSIWYG with AJ – because that’s all he’s ever been and all he ever will be.

      So, get used to seeing this inconsistent and medicore performance, at a crazy price, for the next 3 1/2 years.

    10. redbug
      July 18th, 2010 | 9:44 am

      Let’s see…who can Burnett blame for stinking up the joint yesterday? We know it can’t be his fault. He always blames someone else.

      Can’t be Posado. He didn’t catch

      Can’t be Eiland. He’s back from his leave.

      It was mentioned during yesterday’s game that he said he was getting too much advice from Girardi and Pena during Eiland’s leave. Maybe that’s it??

      Now we know it couldn’t have been Burnett’s fault for injuring his hand. Bad things are never his fault. I know…it must’ve been the door’s fault!

    11. ken
      July 18th, 2010 | 11:22 am

      @ Evan3457:
      Great post. Puts alot into perspective.

      Also, remember that the Yanks’ rotation was in a shambles as a result of terrible pitching moves in the early-mid 2000′s. Paying AJ (call it overpaying, if you will) was part of the price for catching up.

      And also, don’t forget the grass is always greener on the other side: I was listening to BOS sports radio this week. There was general agreement by the callers and host that Pettitte is a more valuable pitcher to have on the team than Beckett. Would any Yankee fan say that?

    12. ken
      July 18th, 2010 | 11:24 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      I have often thought of Jeff Nelson and what might have happened back in 2001 in the 8th inning of game 7…

      Jeff Nelson has thought of, and said that, as well. I do recall him saying something like: “If the Yanks still had me then they would have won another WS.”

    13. Evan3457
      July 18th, 2010 | 12:03 pm

      Molon Labe wrote:

      Hmmm….
      Self-inflicted injury. Unable to perform.
      VOID HIS CONTRACT!

      MLBPA. Not happening (even if you were serious).

    14. Evan3457
      July 18th, 2010 | 12:07 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      6) Try naming a team that won a title that didn’t have a “roll the dice” starter in its playoff rotation since the late 90’s dynasty declined. You can’t do it.
      Why limit it to the decline of the late 90’s dynasty?

      Well…I stopped there because they had Cone, Pettitte, Wells and El Duque, and later Clemens instead of Wells, so that they never really had a “roll the dice starter”. (By the way, Pettitte was the only home-grown starter in that group.) But no team that won it all in the last 9 years entered the post-season without an iffy starter or two (or more, in the case of the 2006 Cards) in its rotation.

    15. Evan3457
      July 18th, 2010 | 12:08 pm

      ken wrote:

      @ Evan3457:
      Great post. Puts alot into perspective.
      Also, remember that the Yanks’ rotation was in a shambles as a result of terrible pitching moves in the early-mid 2000’s. Paying AJ (call it overpaying, if you will) was part of the price for catching up.
      And also, don’t forget the grass is always greener on the other side: I was listening to BOS sports radio this week. There was general agreement by the callers and host that Pettitte is a more valuable pitcher to have on the team than Beckett. Would any Yankee fan say that?

      Many would, right now, because Beckett’s been hurt a lot.
      But not in 2007-8 they wouldn’t.

    16. ken
      July 18th, 2010 | 12:10 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Hmmm….
      Self-inflicted injury. Unable to perform.
      VOID HIS CONTRACT!
      MLBPA. Not happening (even if you were serious).

      Would have been even better if it had applied to Kevin Brown. (For those who may not remember: fist meets wall; wall wins).

    17. Evan3457
      July 18th, 2010 | 12:10 pm

      I wonder how much this rushes Sergio Mitre’s return. Last two games of rehab were 3 innings each.

    18. ken
      July 18th, 2010 | 12:19 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      I wonder how much this rushes Sergio Mitre’s return. Last two games of rehab were 3 innings each.

      From River Ave Blues:
      “Sergio Mitre threw a side session this afternoon after making a rehab start for Triple-A Scranton on Thursday. He will return to the team for the start of the Angels’ series on Tuesday. You have to figure that’s the end of the line for one of Chad Ho Moseley trio, and after today’s outing, Moseley may have thrown his final pitches for the Yanks. They should have traded him before he could opt out when his stock was at a high.
      Two other key cogs aren’t close to returning. After suffering yet another setback, Alfredo Aceves will begin a throwing program this weekend by tossing off flat ground. With some major back problems plaguing him, Aceves isn’t coming back to help the bullpen anytime soon, and anything the Yanks get out of him this season is a bonus. He may have to explore surgery after the season is over.”

    19. Raf
      July 18th, 2010 | 12:54 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Can you imagine an exhausted Rivera having to only pitch one inning that Sunday night.

      Rivera was pretty rested by that point, having gone on 3 days rest. Pettitte was just a big a culprit getting blown out of game 6.

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      WYSIWYG with AJ – because that’s all he’s ever been and all he ever will be.

      I don’t know if anyone sees him as different than that.

    20. Evan3457
      July 18th, 2010 | 5:22 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      ken wrote:
      @ Evan3457:
      Great post. Puts alot into perspective.
      Also, remember that the Yanks’ rotation was in a shambles as a result of terrible pitching moves in the early-mid 2000’s. Paying AJ (call it overpaying, if you will) was part of the price for catching up.
      And also, don’t forget the grass is always greener on the other side: I was listening to BOS sports radio this week. There was general agreement by the callers and host that Pettitte is a more valuable pitcher to have on the team than Beckett. Would any Yankee fan say that?

      Many would, right now, because Beckett’s been hurt a lot.
      But not in 2007-8 they wouldn’t.

      And now, Andy’s hurt, and who knows for how long? :(

    21. Evan3457
      July 18th, 2010 | 5:22 pm

      Grade 1 strain, says Girardi. Woog. Coulda been much worse. :o

    22. July 18th, 2010 | 9:45 pm

      @ Raf:

      Rivera became closer in 1997, 2001 represents his career high in innning pitched in the closer role. Rivera pitched in all three games in New York, twice pitching two inning. In game 5, after working a three up and three down 10th, he loaded the bases with one out in the 11th before escaping without giving up any runs. Clearly he was working on fumes in that 2nd inning of work. Game 7, represented the third time in 5 games he was being asked to pitch two innings. Rivera worked November 1st, November 2nd was an off day, November 3rd he did not work, he worked the ill fated game 7 which was November 4th, how is that three days rest. Keep in mind the season had been extended so he was working later into the year than ever before.

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