Since getting swept by Boston earlier this month, NY has come back with a vengeance and the National League has had to deal with it — they’ve won their last six series and have gone 14-4 in the process. It’s no wonder they lead the American League with a 46-31 record and trail only the Philadelphia Phillies in terms of the best record in all of Major League Baseball. Last night was no different as the Yankees once again proved to be the superior team. Let’s break it down.
In terms of pitching, “good” A.J. definitely showed up. He worked through seven innings, allowed two earned runs, struck out four, and walked two. He also managed to induce three double plays. The best part was, those opportunities to “melt down” came and he managed to bend but not break. Just such an instance occurred in the sixth inning. Jonathan Lucroy singled to center. Rickie Weeks then reached first base on a fielder’s choice (forcing the first out). Nyger Morgan and Ryan Braun both singled and all of a sudden, the bases were loaded with Prince Fielder coming to bat. He made contact with the ball and reached first base on another fielder’s choice (although it perhaps could have been turned into a double play if Nunez had tried for it). However, A.J. was able claim the third out against Corey Hart to end the inning with a 4-2 lead still intact. Even though the Brewers amassed more hits than the Yankees by game’s end, they were never quite able to capitalize on them with any significant rallying.
At this point last year, Burnett was sporting an 0-5 record in June with an 11.35 ERA as opposing hitters were batting .357 off of him. This year, he’s 3-3 with a much more reasonable 4.15 ERA and opposing batters are hitting only .226. Burnett’s contract is still a tough pill to swallow; but hey, I’d rather have him be serviceable out there than not which he mostly has been this year. Frankly, when Moshe and I are discussing on Twitter during the start of the eighth inning (102 pitches later) whether it’s time for AJ to be taken out or not, you know at the very least, he’s done something well.
Of course, it helps when the bullpen can be summarized with one word: NASTY! David Robertson entered the game in the eighth immediately after Eduardo Nunez ended Burnett’s night with a poor defensive blunder (surprise, surprise). Much to the Brewers chagrin, they experienced D-Rob’s “beast mode” first hand. Morgan flied out. Braun struck out swinging. Fielder managed to single on a liner to right field and then Hart promptly struck out. Here’s a pretty sweet tidbit I heard last night on Twitter: in Robertson’s last 15 appearances (14.2 IP) he’s allowed eight hits, one earned run, five walks, and 24(!) strikeouts. This equates to a 0.61 ERA and a .409 OPS from opposing hitters. That’s boarderline unfair. We all know how the story goes in the ninth; Mo came in and did his thing with seemingly no effort.
Offensively, the team continued to click. They victimized Shaun Marcum to the tune of four earned runs over five innings. Although Marcum did accumulate six strikeouts in that time span, he also allowed three walks in the process. The big blow came in the fourth. It started with Robinson Cano who hit a ball deep to left-center field. Morgan ran out of real-estate and brutally crashed into the outfield wall while Cano jogged into third for a triple. Nick Swisher then singled to right allowing Robby to score. Jorge Posada singled and pushed Swisher to third. Russell Martin provided the icing on the cake with his first home run in what feels like forever (and simaltaneously pushed the Yankees win expectancy up to 84.6%).
Speaking of Posada, he’s had an absolutely torrid June. He’s been batting .377/.418/.557 (.975 OPS) in 64 at bats this month. He’s also been the beneficiary of serious BABIP (.429). Basically, whatever was said during that batting lineup incident worked — he’s been flat out mashing the ball and has earned me some crazy points in Pick Six!
Also, in case you’re sipping your coffee this morning and haven’t heard yet, Sergio Mitre (aka “The Experience”) is set to return to the Yankees. The Yankees acquired the “popular” right-hander (who was designated for assignment by the Brewers) for cash considerations. It’s almost as if he never left. Personally, I don’t really care though. He was acquired on the cheap, won’t be used in any meaningful situations, and will be completely disposable. Meh. Buddy Carlyle was also sent to the chopping block. So long, Buddy.
There was also a Joba Chamberlain sighting. He had a mechanical device on his arm that would have made Darth Vader proud. He seemed to be in a good state of mine and recovering nicely. Anyway, tomorrow’s game is an afternoon matinee. See you there!