Can A.J. save the Yankees?

A.J. Burnett had a terrible season. 10-15. 5.26. You don’t know what he will give you today as the Yankees could fall into a 3-1 hole in this ALCS with a loss today.

But it is just one game. It there concern because it is A.J.? Certainly, and justifiably so. But it’s not time for panic over A.J. Remember that some postseason pitching stars in 2006 were the following: Oliver Perez, Anthony Reyes and Jeff Weaver. I’ll leave it to you to check out their 2006 regular season statistics. They were as ugly and uglier than Burnett’s were this year.

Burnett did go 1-0 with an ERA of 2.50 vs. the Rangers this year. He did have 17 K in 18 IP. If he can do that today… I understand the call for CC to go on short rest. The fans and media have been beating that drum for a while. But I wonder if those beating that drum know those numbers? A.J. is 4-3, 3.66 vs. Texas in his career.

Go back. Check out Perez, Reyes and Weaver’s 2006 regular season vs. postseason.

Rangers vs. Burnett: Only Murphy (.294, 5 for 17) has a BA over .250 against him. 

Say the Rangers go with this. Here are the averages against A.J.  Molina .200, 1 for 5; Moreland 0 for 2; Kinsler .200; Andrus .214; Young .250; Vlad .240 12 K; Cruz .143, 2 for 14 with 8 K; Hamilton .250; Murphy .294.   

So yes, A.J. can get it done. Will he?

We are talking one game. One. Can A.J. suck it up and give one good game? The rust worries me. He hasn’t pitched since October 2nd.

Yankees fans maybe should be more concerned with the offense than with A.J. today. For A.J. may come out and throw a gem to no avail. Take away that 5-run comeback inning in Game One and two Robbie Cano HRs, and you are left with one run. ONE. Teixeira is oh for the ALCS and 4 for 36 vs. the Rangers this year. Swisher is 4 for 40 vs. Texas this year. Alex is 2 for 13 in the ALCS.

I wonder if Cervelli starts today with Burnett on the mound. If so, I’d really shake up the lineup. I wouldn’t want Gardner and Cervelli both at the bottom.

Besides, Posada isn’t doing much. Yes, he can jack a mistake whereas Cervelli (1 career HR) can’t. But defensively, Cervelli may be a better call. Maybe Cervelli’s energy wakes the team up. And Posada is 6 for his last 45 with 21 strikeouts. Lordy, Cervelli could do that.

With this offense struggling, and a day game after a night game, maybe take a chance. Move Gardner to the leadoff spot. Bench Jorge for a game and use Cervelli with A.J. on the mound. Heck, I’d even drop Teixeira in the lineup. Berkman has a hot bat (2 for 4 in Game 2 ALDS, double and HR; 1 for 3 in Game 2 ALCS and the only RBI outside of Cano’s 2 HR and the 5-run inning). I know Girardi won’t do it, but I go with the hot hand and drop the cold Teixeira and Swisher down in the lineup as shown below. It’s small sample size but here are the numbers vs. Hunter. Anyway, something needs to be done to the SLUMBERING LUMBER.

Gardner 0 for 2
Jeter 2 for 3, 2 RBI
Cano 2 for 5
Alex 0 for 4, 3 K. Given that A-Rod is 2 for 13 in the ALCS, not good. But you can’t drop everybody down in the lineup.   
Berkman never faced Hunter
Teixeira 1 for 3 (and 4 for 36 vs. Texas in 2010)
Swisher  0 for 3 (that 4 for 40 vs. Texas in 2010)
Granderson 4 for 6, 1 HR, 1 RBI (so I’d expect him 2nd in usual lineup vs. righties)
Cervelli 1 for 1 with an RBI (another case for him today instead of Posada?)

Posada has never faced Hunter.

Hunter is 0-1, 6.75 vs. the Yankees in his career. 7 R in 9 1/3 but 12 K. 0-0, 3.60 vs. the Yankees this year.

Gripe all you want about A.J. starting. His numbers are good. We don’t know if Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde shows up today. The leash will be short.

But if the Bombers keep hitting like Bronx Banjo Hitters playing the song Slumbering Lumber, the choice of who’s the starter won’t matter anyway.

Final thoughts for now:

My local newspaper is something I get basically only for the local news. I’ve perceived Philly butt-kissing (every Monday in the fall, it’s Eagles on the front page, no matter what. Like there aren’t more important things going on in the world). A very anti-NY sentiment. I’ve noticed that for 40 years. But today was just ridiculous. The sports section had last night’s ALCS news and remarks on it on page 5. Yes, the Phils and Eagles news were on the first page of the sports section…as well as a story on salmon fishing. Yes. Salmon Fishing in NY on page one of the sports section. The ALCS on page 5. You gotta be kidding me.

Lee became the first pitcher with three 10-strikeout games in a single postseason. Not even Koufax or Gibson did it (Gibby did have three in a row, but spread over 1967 and 1968).     




One response to “Can A.J. save the Yankees?

  1. I’d like Gardner leading off also followed by Granderson and Jeter. I believe Jeter’s career average batting third is something like .360 but it may be a small sample.

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