Tag:A.J. Burnett
Posted on: August 21, 2011 12:11 am

3 Up, 3 Down: Kinsler, Uggla belt two HR


By Evan Brunell

3 UpIan Kinsler, Rangers: Ian Kinsler could do no wrong Saturday, although it wasn't enough to defeat the White Sox, by rapping out three hits in four trips to the plate, adding two runs and RBI apiece. But it only gets better -- two of Kinsler's hits went over the fence, giving him 20 homers on the season. The second baseman hasn't fulfilled high expectations set in the 2008-09 seasons, and is currently on pace to post the worst offensive season of his career. Don't tell that to John Danks, though, who coughed up both homers.

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays: The Rays have received fantastic starting pitching as of late, and Hellickson kept the ball rolling by blanking the Mariners in eight innings, giving up one free pass and six hits, punching out five. The outing lowered Hellickson's ERA to 3.04, which is fantastic for any pitcher, never mind one in his first full season. Hellickson is increasingly looking like the favorite to snag the Rookie of the Year award, and no one else is mounting a major challenge -- at least, not yet.

Dan Uggla, Braves: Uggla's hitting streak may be over, but he's still crushing pitchers, rocketing two home runs Saturday against Arizona. Uggla finished the night with a 2-for-3 effort, driving in three runs, scoring twice and tacking on a walk. Not including Saturday's outburst, since July 2, Uggla has hit .327/.393/.648. You can now tick these numbers up slightly more. It's been an incredible resurgence for Uggla, whose season numbers still pale in comparison to the past, but it's now no longer a lost season, as it was shaping up to be.

3 DownFrancisco Rodriguez, Brewers: In K-Rod's return to the Mets, he allowed New York to cap off what was a stunning comeback by giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, including Angel Pagan's two-run home run to push the Mets ahead. Milwaukee actually ended up coming back to win the game in the top ninth thanks to Rodriguez's replacement in the Big Apple, Jason Isringhausen, blowing the lead. Before that, though, the Mets needed to push five runs across the plate in the seventh just to pull within one, and kept the good times going against Rodriguez, who was making his first appearance at Citi Field since being traded immediately after the All-Star Game ended. Since Rodriguez arrived in town, the Brewers bullpen has been fantastic, but they just didn't show up for work Saturday.

Tim Wakefield, Red Sox: And the saga continues. Wakefield made his fifth attempt at gaining 200 victories but fell short on Saturday when he was removed from the game in the middle of the sixth inning and the Royals threatening. Matt Albers relieved and offered up a walk and a single to plate Mike Moustakas with the tying run in a bang-bang play at the plate before the Royals poured on the runs against the bullpen. Wakefield walks away with four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits while striking out three and walking zero. The knuckleballer didn't exactly knock them dead Saturday, but has pitched rather well over the last five starts and deserves to have that win in hand by now.

A.J. Burnett, Yankees:  Burnett didn't exactly endear himself to Yankees brass with his start on Saturday. Already struggling through a lousy year, Burnett allowed seven runs to cross the plate in just 1 1/3 innings, walking three, whiffing one and spiking his ERA to 4.96. When skipper Joe Girardi came to yank Burnett from the game, the right-hander had some choice words for Girardi. He may want to have some choice words for himself, as he now checks in with a 6.98 ERA in nine starts over 49 innings.

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Posted on: August 13, 2011 9:38 pm

'Kitchen accident' sidelines Yankees' Garcia

Freddy GarciaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Yankees starter Freddy Garcia won't start on Sunday against the Rays after cutting his finger in a "kitchen accident" last week. 

A.J. Burnett will be moved up to start in his place and the rest of the team's starters will also move up a day. The Yankees had been using a six-man rotation, so with Garcia out, all the starters will be on their regular rest.

The Yankees had been hoping to go back to a five-man rotation and Garcia's injury made the decision easy.

"I told everyone I was going to tell them I was going to have a decision tomorrow as far as what we were going to do and sometimes decisions have a way of working their way out," manager Joe Girardi told reporters, including Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger.

The cut on Garcia's finger doesn't allow him from throwing his splitter.

Ivan Nova will start Monday's opener in Kansas City, followed by Bartolo Colon and CC Sabathia.

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Posted on: August 10, 2011 3:41 pm

A.J. Burnett to 'stay positive' amid struggles

BurnettBy Evan Brunell

A.J. Burnett is making $16.5 million a year but is doing his best to outdo John Lackey as a big-money bust in a big market.

Burnett coughed up four earned runs in six innings on Tuesday -- all runs scoring in the sixth --, which isn't awful, but was enough to raise his ERA to 4.60, which would be his second-highest ERA in the last seven years, with last season's 5.26 mark topping the list.

But Burnett refused to get down about it.

"Before the sixth, I kept my team in it the best I could," Burnett told ESPN New York. "And that's what I'm going to continue to keep doing."

Burnett, who has a 6.00 ERA in his last seven starts, has a defender in manager Joe Girardi who says Burnett's rotation spot isn't in danger. New York is currently deciding its five-man rotation, with one of Ivan Nova or Phil Hughes likely to lose his spot in the six-man iteration.

"I haven't won in a long time," Burnett said of his recent struggles. "I think I've pitched a lot of games that I could have won. I think a lot of things are out of my hands and are out of my control. I've given [up] three runs in [14] of my starts. If that is not good enough to win, I don't know what is.

"I'm going to stay positive," Burnett added. "I threw the ball well tonight, I kept my team in it. The intentional walk was out of my control and [Peter] Bourjos laid off some belt-high pitches that were close then [Jeff] Mathis hit the hook. That's the bottom line. I think the first five innings were probably the best that I've thrown in a long, long time."

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 6:39 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 6:39 pm

Report: Yankees place Posada, others on waivers

Jorge PosadaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Throughout the next month, you'll hear every once in a while about players that have been placed on waivers. That doesn't mean your favorite team is going to release a star player, it's just that they're keeping their options open.

With that in mind comes this report from the New York Post that the Yankees have placed A.J. Burnett, Rafael Soriano and Jorge Posada on waivers.

All three are priced high enough that it's unlikely they'll be claimed. None of the three seem to be that appealing in a trade for another team, either.

Burnett is the team's No. 2 starter -- by payroll, if not performance. He has a record of 8-9 with a  4.23 ERA, but makes $16.5 million through 2013. He does have a limited no-trade clause, allowing him to block trades to 10 clubs.

Soriano signed a three-year, $35 million contract before the season to serve as Mariano Rivera's setup man. He's appeared in just 17 games this season and has allowed nine earned runs in 16 innings, while striking out 12 and walking 11. It's unlikely anyone will want to take on his contract, despite his 45 saves last season for the Rays.

Then there's Posada -- who has famously played for nobody but the Yankees in his 17 seasons. Posada is a free agent after the season, but appears headed for retirement. He's hitting just .236/.318/.382, starting 66 games at designated hitter and eight games at first base, all for $13.1 million.

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Posted on: July 14, 2011 8:34 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 12:59 am

Colon rocked by Jays

Bartolo Colon

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Has Bartolo Colon's magic worn off?

In his first start of the second half, the Yankee right-hander turned in a stinker, his second in a row. Colon gave up six hits and eight runs -- three earned -- in just 2/3 of an inning against the Blue Jays on Thursday before being replaced by Luis Ayala, who didn't help matters when he balked in a run to give Toronto a 9-0 lead after just one inning.

Colon walked two -- he was averaging just 2.2 per nine innings before Thursday --   and didn't strike out any, throwing 42 pitches to get two outs. Well, actually, he used fewer to get two outs, as seven straight Blue Jays reached with two outs before Colon was lifted.

Several Yankee beat writers speculated on Twitter that Colon could still be dealing with a hamstring injury, something that's not out of the realm of possibility. Colon went on the disabled list last month with a strained left hamstring and didn't look good coming off the mound to try to field two balls hit back at him by Rajai Davis and Yunel Escobar -- not that the 38-year old, 265-pounder (that's his listed weight) ever looks too good coming off the mound.

After the game, Colon told reporters he had no pain, but was tentative on his hamstring.

"I feel good, but sometime I feel a little bit nervous," Colon told reporters through an interpreter, according to the New York Times. "I'm afraid to push."

After coming off the disabled list, Colon pitched six scoreless innings against the Mets on July 2 and then picked up the loss in 5 2/3 innings against the Rays that lifted his ERA from 2.88 to 3.20. Thursday's outing put his ERA at 3.47, with thanks to third baseman Eduardo Nunez's error on J.P. Arencibia's grounder that loaded the bases with two outs.

Now, two bad outings happen -- it's not exactly unheard of for a pitcher to struggle at this point of the season. But Colon wasn't in baseball last season and was 14-21 with a 5.18 ERA over his last four seasons before missing 2010, so it's natural to wonder if he will regress to the mean. The Yankees are covered; Phil Hughes has returned to the rotation (with his rediscovered fastball) and Ivan Nova is in the minors just in case someone else in the rotation goes down.

Even if all Colon does is give the Yankees a great first half (6-4, 3.20 ERA), he will have been one of the best signings of the season. (He signed a minor league contract in January that pays him just $900,000 this season.) For the Yankees, $150,000 a win is like ordering off of the dollar menu. Last year the team paid $1,095,238.10 for each of CC Sabathia's 21 wins and $1,650,00 for each of A.J. Burnett's 10 victories. Between Colon and Freddy Garcia's $1.5 million contract, the Yankees could have appeared on Extreme Couponing with their bargain hunting -- even if they were stocking up on boxed macaroni and cheese to put in the pantry at their beach house.

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Posted on: June 29, 2011 4:56 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 7:57 pm

On Deck: Battle in the Bronx


By Matt Snyder

Five days games Wednesday, but that leaves 10 for the night time. We've heard -- and will continue to hear -- plenty about the Red Sox-Phillies series, so let's mix it up and check out three different games.

Division Leaders Square Off: Yeah, the Red Sox are actually in second place, so there's only one game between two teams in first place Wednesday, and that comes to us from the Bronx. The Yankees enter Wednesday night with a three-game winning streak and a 1-1/2 game lead over the Red Sox in the AL East. The Brewers have a two-game lead in the NL Central, but will be looking for a measure of revenge after being pummelled 12-2 by the Yankees Tuesday evening. Shaun Marcum (7-2, 2.95) gets the nod for the Brewers, and he's 0-4 with a 6.62 ERA in his last eight starts at Yankee Stadium (including both old and new). The Yankees send A.J. Burnett (7-6, 4.15), but the true draw in this game is the power on each side. Of the six players in the majors with 20-plus home runs on the season, three are playing in this game -- and that doesn't include Ryan Braun, A-Rod or a host of other sluggers. Milwaukee at New York (AL), 7:05 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring

Looking for No. 1: Davey Johnson took over as the Nationals manager Monday and he's lost his first two games. This comes after a stretch where the Nationals won 13 of 15 games and pushed themselves into the Wild Card picture. Wednesday, they'll look to get their new skipper his first victory against the Angels, who are 1-1/2 games out in the AL West. Upon first glance, the pitching matchup should favor the Angels, as it's Dan Haren (7-5, 3.05) against Jordan Zimmermann (5-6, 2.85), but look deeper. Zimmermann is 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA, 23 strikeouts and only six walks in June. Haren, on the other hand, is 3-3 with a 5.75 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in his last six starts. Washington at Los Angeles (AL), 7:05 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring

Picking Up Steam: Don't look now, but the hottest team in baseball is the defending World Series champions. The Giants have won seven games in a row. They've outscored opponents 34-16 in that span. Things shouldn't change much Wednesday night in Chicago, as the Giants send ace Tim Lincecum (6-6, 3.16) to the hill against the 32-48 Cubs. Lincecum scuffled a bit earlier this month, but looked just fine last time out, as the tossed seven shutout innings and struck out 12 in a win over the Twins. Ryan Dempster (5-6, 5.31) takes the hill for the Cubs, who are in fifth place in the NL Central and 12 games out of first place. San Francisco at Chicago (NL), 8:05 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 5:08 pm

On Deck: AL Central getting tight

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Tigers prowl: With Cleveland's loss to the Twins on Wednesday, the Tigers are within a game of the American League Central lead. Detroit can't take over first with a win on Wednesday, but they can inch to a half-game out of first with a win over Texas in Arlington on Wednesday. Lefty Phil Coke is expected to be activated from the DL in time to face right-hander Alexi Ogando, who beat the Tigers with a two-hitter through seven innings in April. Ogando has yet to lose a decision as a starter. Tigers at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

David OrtizRetaliation time? Nobody expects A.J. Burnett to bean David Ortiz right off the bat -- but he may smoke him inside just to get his attention. It's nice to have some actual bad blood between these two teams again. For two long the rivalry has been pretty boring -- but with Joe Girardi complaining about Ortiz's bat flip on Tuesday, things could get interesting. Or at least more interesting.  Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

RockiesWelcome back: Everything's coming up Rockies today -- the team gets Aaron Cook back and he faces a team he's traditionally pitched well against. In his career he's 7-1 with a 2.21 ERA at Petco Park and is 14-4 against the Padres overall. They're also facing Dustin Moseley, who his pitching well this season, going 2-6 with a 3.00 ERA and has allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of his last 12 starts. However, Moseley was rocked by the Rockies on May 13, allowing six runs in four innings of a loss at Coors Field. Rockies at Padres, 6:35 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: May 21, 2011 11:36 am

On Deck: Scherzer goes for 7 wins

On Deck

By Evan Brunell

LincecumAndersonPITCHER'S DUEL: There's a nice matchup going on down the Bay as Oakland's Brett Anderson will square off against Tim Lincecum of the Giants. Anderson, considered one of the best young left-handed starters in the game, has a 3.30 ERA and will seek to right the fortunes of his team -- losers of three in a row -- and himself, with a 5.68 ERA over his last four starts after kicking the season off with a 1.56 ERA. Lincecum, meanwhile, took a 21-inning scoreless streak into Monday's game with the Rockies but walked six (a career high). He's always been a fantastic pitcher in interleague play, so this could be a good opportunity for The Freak to put that start behind him. Athletics at Giants, 7: 10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

MetsMATCHING UP: With a win Saturday, the Mets will boast a 23-22 record. The vaulting above .500 will be impressive, but it will also match the Mets with the Yankees for most wins by a New York team, as the Yanks have a 23-20 mark after losing to their neighbors Friday night. Chris Capuano will take the mound for the Mets, and it's tough to imagine the Yankees won't feast. Junkballing left-handers pitching to an AL East team? You saw what Doug Davis went through against the Red Sox Friday night. Hard to think Capuano won't be in store for the same treatment. The Yanks, meanwhile, counter with A.J. Burnett, who has an ERA under 4.00 -- just under, at 3.99. The Yankees really hope Burnett can right the sinking ship and avoid a sixth straight home loss. Mets at Yankees, 7:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

ScherzerCHASING THE LEAD: Max Scherzer, owner of a pristine 6-0 record, will seek his league-leading seventh win Saturday against the Pirates. (In other words, it's a lock.) You won't find any of us here at Eye on Baseball putting any value into a pitcher's win-loss record, but for entertainment purposes, someone going for the league lead in wins with zero losses is pretty cool. Scherzer will take his 2.81 ERA up against a flagging Pirates offense that will likely have Pedro Alvarez to the disabled list by the time the game opens up. That will make the task that much harder for Kevin Correia, he of a 3.97 ERA which is far lower than many expected. Tigers at Pirates, 7: 05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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