Unlike the two rain delays that derailed CC Sabathia‘s potential perfect game on Tuesday night, no one anxiously awaited the start of this game, expecting a special evening of lightning bolts from the mound. If there was going to be any electricity, Mother Nature would supply it from the heavens.
A.J. Burnett was pitching. Whenever he takes the mound, you expect the unexpected, but not in a good way.
Burnett gave up two homers – a two-run blast by Mark Reynolds in the second inning and a solo shot by Derek Lee in the sixth – and that was enough for the Orioles to beat the Yankees, 4-2. Burnett (8-9), who gave up four runs on five hits over eight innings, went winless (0-3) in his five July starts.
Joe Girardi called it a “strange game” in that Burnett had 10strikeouts, two walks and gave the Yanks eight innings, but couldn’t get any run support.
Burnett talked about shutting the door on all the negative things that normally unsettle him during a game.
“It was a big step for me mentally. I didn’t let the homer bother me. I didn’t let the other one bother me,” he said. “I went out there and didn’t do what I did in the past.
“Where I’m at now I feel fine. I can’t wait for the next game.”
With his inconsistent performances over the last two years, Burnett has lowered the expectations of everyone so much that the Yankees can count on just one thing – that they can’t count on him.
Since putting on the pinstripes, Burnett has turned into a gold-plated enigma – he still has electric stuff, but you never know what inning he’s going to blow a fuse and melt down. He is more of a gamble going forward than Phil Hughes, whose lack of effectiveness is a physical mystery. That is why there is a clamor for the Yankees to make a move for another starter before Sunday’s non-waiver trading deadline.
If Burnett had pitched the way you’d expect a No. 2 starter to pitch, the Yankees would not have to consider a trade that will likely force them to part with some valuable prospects.
Instead Burnett has GM Brian Cashman scrambling to fix a hole that he should have filled three years ago.
When Burnett signed his five-year, $82.5 million contract, the Yankees didn’t expect his record to be below .500 (31-33) in the first three years.
The trade deadline clock is ticking loudly now, and Ubaldo Jimenez continues to be the name on the lips of everyone who wants Cashman to make a move. The Rockies‘ asking price has been too high, even though the 27-year-old righty is supposed to have a manageable contract and ace-like stuff.
Not getting Jimenez would not be a disaster for the Yankees. It could be one of the best things that happen to them if they don’t get him. He could turn out to be a future Burnett – fool’s gold – if he lands in the Bronx.
Last year at this time, Jimenez was 16-2 with a 2.67 ERA and had created a buzz that had carried over to this season. He finished 2010 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA. But he has dropped off this season. He is currently 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA and has given up 10 home runs. He gave up 10 all of last season.
Cashman and the Yankees are rightly concerned with Jimenez’s drop in velocity and production this season. He claims he’s not hurt, although he dealt with thumb-cuticle problems and a hip-flexor injury in spring training. And they must be just a little wary about the Rockies’ willingness to part ways with their ace, considering that he has such a manageable contract for the next three years; he is slated to make $4.8 million in 2012 and has club options of $5.75 million and $8million the next two years.
Consider that the Mariners have let it be known that they’re not interested in dealing their ace Felix Hernandez. An ace is an ace, and as Girardi said about Sabathia after he flirted with a perfect game on Tuesday night, aces are hard to come by.
If Jimenez joined the Yankees rotation, could he have an immediate impact or would the Bombers have to wait for him to have that rebound season next year?
The Yankees already have an A.J. Burnett. They don’t need another [email protected]
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