Game 78: I Believe in A.J. Burnett

I’m not sure how much I believe that, but what the hell?

For the visitors:

1. Rickie Weeks, 2B (Kay just called him “Richie”)
2. Nyjer Morgan, CF (Over/Under: 1.5 falls in the OF tonight)
3. Ryan Braun, LF (Can’t knock him)
4. Prince Fielder, 1B (Same)
5. Corey Hart, RF (Insert sunglasses at night joke here)
6. Mat Gamel, DH (People who spell “Matt” or “Matthew” with only one “T” should be executed)
7. Casey McGehee (Can’t just spell it McGee like a normal McGee? Jeez.)
8. The Yuni Bomber, SS
9. Jonathan Lucroy, C (Who?)

Shaun Marcum: 2.95/3.16/3.55 E/F/x

And for the Bombers:

1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Curtis Granderson, CF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Nick Swisher, RF
7. Jorge Posada, DH
8. Russell Martin, C
9. Eduardo Nunez, SS

SP: A.J. Burnett: 4.15/4.56/3.93 E/F/x

About Matt Imbrogno

A native and resident of the Mean Streets of Southwestern Connecticut, Matt is a narcissistic, misanthropic 20something English teacher who lives by a simple creed: Yankees Only.

106 thoughts on “Game 78: I Believe in A.J. Burnett

  1. I figured out what A.J. stands for: Ah, just. As in

    Yankee Fan 1: Hey, who’s pitchin’?

    Yankee Fan 2: Ah, just Burnett.

  2. Jon Heyman should be executed as wewll, and it has nothing to do with the fact he left off an ‘h’

  3. At the game right now, in ridiculously good seats I scored for $46. Thank you Mastercard promotional deals and Tuesday night crowds.

  4. For some reason, I thought Granderson was going to catch that as soon as I saw him going after it. Nice DP.

        • Howdy, Professor. Ah, jus’ watchin’…my boy, AJ. Now don’t you bother him, go mixing him up, emotionally. Kim Jones is an apple blossom.

          • I must be the only one who can’t see it. She seems like a nice lady and all, but she really looks rather horse faced to me.

          • That is a true statment to some degree, but almost 100% of men would stay with a gorgeous mean woman much longer than a nice ugly one haha. The tradeoff has to be fair.

            Something about noses can really mess up a face for me, I guess because my eyes draw right to the center of someone face.

      • or else….. I may just have to go with my secret weapon. The ole Girardi/Montero/Higashioka platoon. I’ve written about it extensively.

      • I’ll take Martin behind the plate right now everytime over Montero. He’s going to be so much worse defensively, and calling a game that his bat would have to be elite immediately to be better.

        I think it’s funny the overreactions Martin has garnered in such a short time as a Yankee. In the first month of the season people were positng how we don’t need Montero anymore, and that we should extend him 3-5 years. Now everyone wants him to be a backup, and can’t wait until Montero replaces him.

        This is one of the problems with playing through injuries. Fans want you to be tough, and play when your hurt. but when your production suffers because of it, no one cares that you did what they wanted.

        Martin was never going to maintain his numbers he started with, but just the same he isn’t going to maintain this poor play. He does look like he is starting to get healthier, that’s the first step.

    • OPS+ of 67, which is not the worst (or the second worst) he’s ever had.

  5. Marcum’s a tough draw for us. This team usually struggles with really hard tossers, and extreme soft tossers with great changes. You could really say that about most teams though.

    • Alex has had a penchant for rbi’s, and was hoping he could catch one, get two. Marcum was too clever, though.

      • Marcum really doesn’t get enough credit for what he does. To have the kind of production he had last year in the AL East, with that kind of stuff isn’t easy. He’s a true pitcher.

    • I read yesterday that he was 300 pounds coming out of High School. That’s ridiculous.

  6. I don’t know what Gary Cederstrom is yelling when he calls a strike, but it definitely isn’t the word “strike”.

    • Yeah, he must have caled “ball” on the low outside pitch that Cano took. Usually they don’t say anything, right?

      • A lot of umps will tell you where the pitch missed. Like “down and away”, or simply “low”. It just isn’t loud, and mostly doesn’t get picked up on the audio.

      • He has to say something that can be understood because the catcher and often the hitter can’t see his hand signals.

  7. Damn any other part of the park and that’s out. Went 400 feet.

    BTW-Swish gets this run in. Best situational hitter on the team.

  8. Nick Swisher and Posada this year is one of the reasons I love baseball. It’s the only game where a guy can looks like he doesn’t even know how to play for a month or two at a time, and follow it up with a month or two that would make you think you were watching an MVP. It’s a game of redemption, frustration, mental patience, and it’s no place for snap judgements.

    • We couldn’t come up with a replacement anyway, so it doesn’t matter.

      • We really could. If you didn’t think he was a starter you could start Montero and make Martin his backup. There’s simply no reason to look for a replacement. He calls a great game, blocks balls well, and when healthy is one of the better bats for a catcher in baseball. His problem, and always has been staying healthy. Guys like that play tough, to the point that they turn small injuries into bigger ones.

        When he was ran over by Pena and got up and showed him the ball, that showed me all I would’ve needed to know about Martin had I not already been such a huge fan from his time with the Dodgers.

        • Montero is either the future at catcher, the future at DH, or an important trade chip. You develop him they way he needs to be developed, and you don’t let Martin or anyone else affect that too much. If the Yankees think Montero needs more time in AAA, then that’s it. If they think he’s ready to start at C in the majors, then they should push Martin aside. But from what Cashman has said, he doesn’t want Montero in the majors yet.

          • Sounds like he’ll be a 5 day DH, 2 day a week backup catcher. Gotta hang on to him AT Least until he starts hitting loud enough to draw interest.

            Unless we can bag something extra-special, I’d be happy with his prospects.

          • He’s pretty much untradeable this season. I mean obviously you could give him away, but you won’t get value back this year because no one of worth is available.

            I think he ends up being no more than a DH, and maybe a first baseman once Teixeira leaves. He can be a catcher for a few years if you want, and hit well enough to do so, but he isn’t a longterm answer there.

          • Hey I’m the one who has been arguing against Montero in the majors for a while now. My point simply was if you want other options there are other options.

            I disagree that you push Martin aside if you think he’s ready though. Montero even if he does stick at catcher will never be the backstop Martin is, and his own coaches admit he is still working on calling games. His bat may eventually let him play at the position, but Martin is by far the better choice for the pitching staff.

            Cashman said he wanted him to stay wherever there was the most playing time for him, if you wanted him to start over Martin he would get more time. So there are other options. My point is that he wouldn’t be a better option than Martin. He never will be from a strictly catcher perspective.

          • It doesn’t matter if Martin would be better this year–not to me, anyway. If I think Montero will make it as a catcher, and will hit the way he’s been hyped, then I make him the catcher when he’s ready, and Martin isn’t enough to stop me.

          • But, Professor, you gotta realize how important the catcher is to each our pitchers: confidence, flow, lack of frustration.

          • So you’d be willing to take an already fragile pitching staff and take away their rock? You think Burnett was uncomfortable bouncing curveballs to Burnett, try Montero. He leaves a huge gap in between his legs when he goes down to block balls, which in turn creates a lot of passed balls.

            There is a huge difference in being a guy who can squat behind a plate, and a catcher. Montero isn’t a catcher yet, and may never be that. He may end up being a guy who can squat behind the plate for a few years, but he isn’t a catcher.

            Montero would have never been able to work Hector Noesi through his big league debut in that extra inning game. Time and time again Martin calmed him down, and got him through those innings and we won the game because of it.

          • I don’t care for confidence; I prefer fear. Line the pitchers up against the wall every month and shoot the one with the highest xFIP.

          • If Montero has the potential to be, say, another Posada, then yes, you develop that and it would be counterproductive to give that up for Martin. As near as anyone can measure, the difference between good and poor catchers defensively isn’t as valuable as the difference between good and poor hitters. If you’ve got any proof otherwise, I’d be happy to see it.

    • It wasn’t where he wanted it for sure, but it was below his knees when he connected. Marcum wanted it away though, and it was more middle down.

        • Yeah, I just ran it back to give the information. Certainly was a mistake pitch, but Martin went down and got it.

    • He’ll probably make sportscenter “not top plays”. That list is really cold by the way, just highlighting peoples mistakes haha.

      • well, he gets extra points for the bounce!

        The guy is tough, keeps on ticking. Guess he can take it, as well as dish it out.

        • All I will remember Morgan for is hitting the wall in Washington, thinking the ball went over the wall, and throwing a hissy fit while the runner rounded all tghe bases.

  9. Some guy just proposed to his GF on the big screen about 10 rows from me. She said. Yes, and now they’re drinking some comp champagne.

    • I’ve never liked that. It’s so cheesy, and much less romantic and more “look at me” than I find neccesary for a proposal. That’s just something that you should be doing for you and her, not so you can get on sportscenter, and be the main focus of the stadium for 15 seconds.

      • I’d never do it, I think its cheesy too. But they seem happy, who am I to judge.

        I will say this, every girl in my section was mesmerized by it.

        • Here’s my question. If you’re the girl getting proposed too, and you don’t want to marry the guy what then? Do you say yes, and explain latter. Or do you embarress the guy infront of the world?

  10. Wow, Braun really can do it all. Hit run field, and even umpire. May be the only 6 tool player in the sport.

  11. Alex has looked much better diving and take extra base hits away this year. The weight he lost in the offseason has really helped him man 3rd better.

    Good job by Nunez not to throw it. Better to get one out and eat it, than throw it away and give up two.

    • Yeah I’m not sure how bad Michael Kay’s eyes are. Pretty clear it hit both of the mans hands, after bouncing from the wall into the stands. Probably one of the easiest reviews I’ve seen.

  12. Man, that was sick when they went to tag Jorge.

    New rule: no ham hands sitting at the fence!

  13. You have to give Burnett credit. He has done a much better job this year of not letting mistakes get to him and causing a snowball effect. In fact I’ve seen him laugh at himself a few times this year, instead of getting down on himself. He also seems to have done a better job of keeping his pitch count lower. Last year he almost always seemed to be near 100 pitches by the 5th, this year he has allowed himself to pitch to the 6th or 7th before worrying about that.

    • you gotta credit Russell for giving him no extra headaches. Think of how many dirtballs would go through.

      • I think that has something to do with it, and I also think Martin’s calm personality has something to do with it. Posada has always been a very pushy catcher, and he tends to force his game plan on the pitchers. Martin seems to work with pitchers more.

  14. There’s a reason why RIM’s stock has been cut in half over the past few months. It shouldn’t take 8 and a half minutes to post a 2 sentence comment. Horrendous internet on the blackberry.

  15. For one last comment on the Montero Martin thing. The job of a manager and GM is to put the best player at each position on the field, regardless of his bat Martin is the better catcher. You can’t just force Montero into the starting lineup because you want him to be the future catcher. We aren’t talking about a Matt Weiters type, we are talking someone who at his best will still be a below average defensive player at a position where everything other than hitting matters most. If Martin were to prove he simply can’t remain healthy starting you cross that bridge when you get there, but he shouldn’t be benched for any other reason this season.

    Depending on how this season ends, going into next year I would like to see Martin remain the starting catcher and Montero be the regular DH and backup catcher.

    • I’ve seen studies that tend to show that the things you’re talking about don’t actually result in wins nearly as much as good hitting. Unless you can show me some studies that show different, I just don’t believe what you’re saying.

      • So many studies that none of them are available for you to share?

        You aren’t providing any proof haha, you are simply saying I have proof you don’t. That in and of itself isn’t proof.

        What I’m telling you is that a catcher has several jobs. 1. to call the game, 2. to play defense, and 3. to hit. The first two jobs will always be more important than the last.

        You can believe whatever you want, but I will take Martin over Montero every day of the week it’s that simple. You would be willing to make a major change that would effect the entire pitching staff, for a maybe that Montero will be Piazza.

        Let’s also clear up the hype for a second as well. Montero isn’t going to be the next Manny Ramirez or Miguel Cabrera as I have heard so many times. He is much more likely to be a Carlos Lee type than either of those two.

  16. D-Rob seems to have a little extra giddy-up lately. Lots of 94s for a guy who usually sits around 91-92

    • I’ve noticed this as well. I wonder if that is the reason his K (14.36 K/9) and BB (5.74 BB/9) rates are at all time highs.

      Fangraphs says he is averaging 92.8 MPH on his fastball this season. The last two seasons he has been at 91.8 and 91.9 respectively.

  17. “If Montero has the potential to be, say, another Posada, then yes, you develop that and it would be counterproductive to give that up for Martin. As near as anyone can measure, the difference between good and poor catchers defensively isn’t as valuable as the difference between good and poor hitters. If you’ve got any proof otherwise, I’d be happy to see it.”

    Who’s talking about giving that up for Martin? We’re talking about keeping Montero in triple A because Martin is better. in the long term of course Montero is the better answer, but don’t stop starting the better player now because of what’s better 2-4 years down the road.

    I want to see the proof that good hitting catchers with poor defense are better than good defensive catchers. Mike Napoli is one of the best power hitters in baseball, yet Mike Scioscia played Jeff Mathis over him so often they traded Napoli away. In fact once he got traded to the Rangers they still go with Teagarden and Torrealba over Napoli, and use Napoli mostly at first.

    • And Scioscia gets criticized for it. Take a look at the WAR numbers. That doesn’t take into account game calling, but defense just doesn’t affect games as much as offense, including at catcher. I remember a study of Ivan Rodriguez and the ERAs of pitchers when they pitched to him and when they didn’t. I’ll try to find that one and a couple others.

      • Ivan Rodriguez is a notoriously horrible game caller. He is probably the best defensive catcher of all time, and he certainly has the best arm of any catcher to play the game. But he has been criticized his entire career for game calling.

        • Then pick any catcher and show me how pitchers are better when they pitch to him.

          And as I remember, the study didn’t show that pitchers were any worse with Rodriguez catching. It basically showed that it made no difference.

          • I would say just watching the Yankees staff this year compared to last shows the difference in bad catchers and good catchers.

            I don’t think we have gotten to the point with catching statistics where we have any stats that can show the true value of game calling, framing, pitchers confidence, and blocking balls in the dirt. If you chose to not believe in the wind because you can’t see I can’t convince you otherwise. That’s your opinion and you are entitled to it. I disagree.

            I have seen more than enough baseball games to believe that a catcher effects the outcome of the game more than almost anyone else on the field. If I’m wrong I’ll need major proof to show me that. There is just so much more to being a catcher than receiving pitches in one half of the inning, and hitting in the next.

            Now can catchers like Piazza and Posada outhit their defensive subtractions? Yes, but in order to do so you have to be so good on that side of the ball very few have ever done it. Maybe Montero will be a guy who can do that one day, but this season I don’t think there is anyway possible for him to do it. He isn’t hitting well enough in Triple A to make up for his deficiencies.

    • If Montero is really 4 years away, yes, I agree, go with Martin. But that isn’t the question. In general, you have to develop the special guys with great potential, and sometimes you have to sacrifice something now to do it.

      Again, if it’s true that Montero will never be able to catch, then make him a DH. If he can catch (and I have no idea if he can; I’m just going by what the Yankees say), then you have to develop that; it’s too valuable.

      • I’m not saying he is 4 years away, I’m saying the top of his potential won’t be accessed this year. Even if he does live up to the hype in his bat, he won’t do so from the beginning of his career and never struggle. Way too many people are expecting this monster to come up, swing a great bat from day one, and be a middle of the order hitter from now until he retires. It doesn’t work that way.

        As I said there is a difference in catching and being a guy who squats behind the plate. I’ve watched him play and he is a giant step down from Martin, several steps in fact. He is limited in his movement from side to side, extremely slow in his motion to throw runners out, and as I said leaves a giant hole between his legs when blocking balls. He is also very cumbersome when trying to get out of a crouch and go get a ball. When he plays his size is apparent, in a way I’ve never seen when watching another catcher.

        • I haven’t seen him play. I’ll take your word for it. Seriously, if you tell me he can’t catch, I’ll take a step toward considering him a DH. And, yes, he will take some time to develop as a major league hitter, possibly years.

          But if he really can hit like that, and he really can be a catcher at, say, Posada’s level, then I’d say you do whatever is best for that development unless you’ve got a better plan.

          • I don’t want to come off like a Montero basher I don’t. I just think we all need to temper expectations. As it stands he probably walks into baseball as the worst catcher in the league, he’s going to have to smash beyond the level of a catcher to even come close to making up for that. I simply don’t think he can do that this year. For this season, and maybe next year as well Martin is the better option.

            I’d say what is best for his development at this point is a full year in triple A. He gets to catch everyday, while working on his strikezone control, and pitch recognition as well. Then in September give him a callup and let him wet his feet with major league pitching. Next year you have him start the year as starting DH and backup catcher, if Martin continues being a walking injury towards the end of the year you start to transition more and more to Montero. Then in 2013 he starts at catcher from day one and gets the full year to show what he has. If I was GM/manager this would be my plan. That’s just me, and it doesn’t mean I’m right, but it’s what I’d do.

            For comparison Napoli has never stood out to me as being a huge, slow catcher the way Montero has.

  18. Sergio Mitre is heading back to the Bronx. The Yankees have traded cash for his rights, and they DFA’d Carlyle to make room on the 40 man roster.

  19. I think that’s incorrect. I saw Jorge Posada be an awful defensive catcher and be a winner. The team ERA is lower partially because scoring is down across the league.
    I don’t think nearly as many people think he’s going to be Manny Ramirez when he first comes up. I do think the sooner he comes up, the sooner he’s going to be a valuable asset.
    BIll James (back when he was being insightful) talked about why some guys get the most out of players other teams saw as bench warmer: because they saw and used what the player could do while everybody else concentrated on what they couldn’t do.
    Yogi was horrible defensively when he arrived in 1947. Instead of keeping him in the minors, they brought him up and he had 306 PAs. He was still pretty bad in 1948, but they got him another 497. This was before the DH. His OPS+ over his first three years averaged 115-not great, but not bad. That team had Charlie Keller on the bench, but they didn’t want to waste Berra’s bat in the minors.
    I seriously doubt that having Montero catch guys like CC, Garcia, and Bartolo would be any worse than having Cerveill back there and at the plate, and if the 47 team could put Yogi in LF for 50 games instead of Keller, the Yanks could have Jesus at DH a couple times a week, too.
    There is a difference between a catcher and a guy who squats behind the plate, but there have been a whole lot of Smoky Burgess’s, Yogi’s, Blanchards, and recently Piazza and Victor Martinez who were all valuable assets despite only being guys who squatted behind home plate.

    • He’s never going to be a Manny Ramirez period. Have you seen Manny’s numbers? He’s much more Carlos Lee at his ceiling.

      Yes scoring is down, but AJ Burnett is clearly different. The guy is no where near as volatile as he has been in the past, and I think it’s a mistake to dismiss Martin’s part in that.

      Martin showed his ability to help pitchers make it through innings in Noesi’s debut. The kid wilted several times in that outing and Martin was the one to prop him up everytime. He’s like having an extra pitching coach on the field, Montero won’t come into the league being that.

      I currently see Montero as a worse catcher than Jorge Posada, and I don’t see him hitting as well when he is first called up. Because of that he isn’t going to be more valuable than Martin. We aren’t the Royals, we aren’t trying to call him up so that when we make the playoffs in 2-3 years he’ll be good. We are trying to make the playoffs this year. At his current level of play he isn’t the better player, therefore he shouldn’t be starting over the better player. Bad things happen to teams when you stop playing the best player available.

      Cervelli may not be the best defensive catcher but he has always been praised for his game calling from day 1. This is one of the main reasons he is still on the team.

      You would be asking one of the rawest players available to take over for an established veteran with twice the defensive ability.

      I think too many people dismiss the multiple facotrs that go into catching because it can’t be measured in stats.

      You either agree or you don’t, and you clearly don’t. But for me Martin has to be starter this season.

      • Martin should be the starter to a point. If he’s still a .22X-.23X hitter this time next month, Cervelli should be given a look-see as the everyday catcher.

        The more Martin starts, the more he will wear down, and that’s not good for him or the team.