One Poor “A.J. Inning” Costs the Ballgame

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
NYY
0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0   3 4 0
CLE
0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2 x   6 6 1
W: Tomlin (10-4)
L: Burnett (8-7)
SV: Perez (20)
NY Yankees AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Jeter, SS 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 .256
Granderson, CF 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 .274
Teixeira, 1B 4 1 1 0 0 0 2 .244
Rodriguez, Al, 3B 4 0 0 0 0 1 3 .295
Cano, 2B 4 1 1 0 0 1 2 .294
Swisher, RF 4 0 1 2 0 1 0 .248
Posada, DH 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .234
Martin, C 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .219
Gardner, LF 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 .267
Totals 32 3 4 3 1 6 9 .258
NY Yankees IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Burnett, AJ(L, 8-7) 7.0 4 4 4 4 6 1 4.12
Wade 1.0 2 2 2 0 1 1 2.00
Totals 8.0 6 6 6 4 7 2 3.48

Game Review from MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

CLEVELAND — The Yankees needed A.J. Burnett to get through seven innings on this day more than most, but that was where a pair of former teammates came back to hurt the right-hander on Monday.

Austin Kearns’ three-run homer followed Shelley Duncan’s RBI single as Burnett coughed up a two-run advantage, taking the loss as the Indians posted a 6-3 victory on Independence Day at Progressive Field.

Those pitches might not have spoiled what was largely a quality outing, Burnett said, if he hadn’t issued a pair of walks to Grady Sizemore and Lonnie Chisenhall earlier in the inning.

“The two walks are probably what got me,” Burnett said. “Walks will kill you, bottom line.”

Perhaps, but you could also make the case that Burnett should have already been out of the inning. Chisenhall found a second life when a foul popup dropped between Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner down the left-field line, prolonging the at-bat.

“Bottom line, that ball — for me — has to be caught,” Rodriguez said. “A.J. pitched his tail off today, and it’s unfortunate that ball drops right there.”

Curtis Granderson briefly trimmed the deficit in the eighth with his 23rd home run, a solo shot off Vinnie Pestano, but Carlos Santana answered in the eighth with a two-run blast off Cory Wade — the first runs allowed by Wade in eight Yankees appearances.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi acknowledged that he was trying to quietly push Burnett through at least seven innings because his bullpen was down closer Mariano Rivera, who is nursing a sore right triceps.

“It’s improving. Hopefully [Tuesday] I’ll be ready to pitch,” Rivera said. “I’m not concerned about it, I can tell you that. It’s things that happen.”

At least for a while, it appeared that Girardi might not have any trouble without his future Hall of Famer.

Although Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin was no-hitting the Bombers through six, Burnett had matched him with a zero in every frame, permitting only two hits as he went to the seventh.

“I didn’t think fatigue was an issue, and he was still throwing the ball good for me,” Girardi said.

Mark Teixeira broke up Tomlin’s no-hit bid with a single to open the seventh, and Nick Swisher’s two-run double served as the big blow in the inning, giving Burnett a cushion he’d enjoy only briefly.

“We really just couldn’t get anything going today,” Swisher said. “Coming up there you’re like, ‘Man, this is a chance to do something right now.’ I was lucky to get a ball up in the zone.”

Burnett’s two full-count walks, both on high fastballs, put a damper on the rally. A wild pitch preceded Duncan’s opposite-field, two-strike single.

That brought up Kearns, who hit two homers in 102 at-bats for New York last year as a late-season pickup, and he cleared the right-field wall for a crushing blast that marked his first round-tripper of 2011.

“I focus on the walks,” Burnett said. “I’m trying not to be negative; I threw the ball well. At times, you tip your hat to teams for battling.”

It was Burnett’s second loss of the year to the Tribe, having allowed a run over 7 2/3 innings in a losing effort on June 13 at home — coincidentally, the last game Jeter played in before Monday.

Making his return to the lineup from a right calf injury, Derek Jeter went hitless in four at-bats, but that hardly set him apart from his teammates through the first six frames against Tomlin.

“He’s all about location, with a number of different pitches, and he’s really good at it,” Girardi said. “You don’t throw 29 straight starts and go five innings, at least, if you don’t know how to pitch.”

Jeter entered the game six hits shy of 3,000 for his career, looking to become the 28th member — and first wearing a Yankees uniform — of that exclusive club.

Showing no signs of lingering injury after a two-game Minor League rehabilitation stint, the captain reached on a first-inning error, flew out in the third inning, grounded out in the sixth inning, and lined out in the eighth.

“Evidently, he’s been doing that all year,” Jeter said about Tomlin. “He knows how to pitch. I don’t think he threw me a ball over the middle of the plate the entire day. He’s going to make you hit his pitch, and he kept the ball down, for the most part.”

About Mike D.

Mike D. is one of 2 co-founders of the Yankees Fans Unite Blog. He has been a Yankees fan for as long as he can remember, growing up in a family of huge NYY fans. His knowledge of the game comes from watching baseball his whole life, and playing third base in high school and college.

Posted on July 5, 2011, in Game Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. There were a lot of things that went wrong in this game. For one thing, what the heck was A-Rod doing getting a baseball that was in Brett Gardner’s territory and then not making the catch. If A-Rod wasn’t there then Gardner most likely would have made the catch. A-Rod didn’t even call for the baseball, which makes it more frustrating. Also, Girardi does this all the time. He takes a long time to take out a pitcher. AJ was at 103 pitches before the 3 run shot by Austin Kearns and Girardi just stood there. If I were Girardi, I would have at least went to Boone Logan in that situation, or maybe even Robertson. Robertson would have been my first choice if Mariano didn’t have a sore shoulder. But Girardi always overworks his pitchers which leads us to lose players to the DL.

    With Chamberlain, he used him 3 days straight, and he made the rule that he wouldn’t use Chamberlain that way, and what happens? Chamberlain needs Tommy John Surgery. I think Girardi is pushing his players too much and also is too blind to see that Jeter doesn’t belong in the lead-off spot. Jeter says he’s all about team, but if he was all about team then he would volunteer to move down in the order to give Gardner a shot. 13-4 in Jeter’s absence was not a fluke apparently, which shows Gardner knows what he’s doing in the lead-off spot. Anyway…I just hope Girardi doesn’t overwork anymore pitchers or another one will go to the DL, as if we didn’t have DL issues in the first place.

  2. After jeter hits 3000 it will be better to move him down the order. Gardner would be better batting leadoff and jeter maybe 5th or 6th

  3. Well said Delia and agreed Kartik

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