After allowing two hits and a home run in the first inning after an Alex Rodriguez RBI double spotted him a 1-0 lead, Burnett settled down and would only allow one additional hit over the next 6 innings. All told he would allow 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5 and giving up just the 2 runs from Willingham’s home run while pitching a strong 7 innings.Burnett hasn’t been dominating hitters so far this season, but he’s managed to limit the damage he’s allowed and given the Yankees a chance to win when he’s pitched more often than not. His luck may run out soon if he doesn’t improve his strikeout and walk rates, but for now the Yankees will definitely take what they’re getting from A.J.
The big story of the day, however, is Nick Swisher, who finished up the day’s scoring with a 3-run homer off of Gio Gonzalez in the 4th inning. Swisher’s struggles so far this season have been a cause of concern for many, but the West Coast has been a friendlier climate for Swish. Through the past six games, Swisher is 6-20 with 6 walks and 2 home runs, plus a shot that Franklin Guitierrez brought back over the wall in the first game in Seattle. He’s hit .300/.462/.650 through the first two-thirds of the road swing.
Obviously six good games doesn’t necessarily mean Swisher is on the verge of finally breaking out this season, but it’s certainly encouraging. For one thing, as I wrote before there was nothing particular in Swisher’s profile this season that stood out as an obvious reason for his significant struggles other than a sudden lack of power, a very strange situation for an established slugger in the prime of his career to find himself in. But Swisher took some time off during the last homestand to work on his swing with Kevin Long, and hopefully we’re seeing the fruits of that labor. If nothing else, it’s nice to see Swisher hitting the ball with authority.
If Swisher can return to the form the Yankees have become accustomed to since he arrived in New York, it would provide a huge boost to an offense that’s already the best in the American League. But even improving to the point that he’s not a black hole in the order would be a welcome change as well. Here’s hoping Swisher stays hot in Anaheim, then brings some of those good vibrations back to the Bronx with him.