In the first game on Tuesday night, the Yankees will send AJ Burnett to the bump at the Roger Centre, a very familiar place for the ex-Blue Jay.
Unfortunately any fond Canadian memories are long gone for Burnett, as his spectacular month of April could come crashing down if history dictates anything.
In 2010 Burnett’s last start against the Blue Jays he got pulled after 2.1 innings of crap, allowing two homeruns, seven earned runs, a walk, a strikeout and he managed to hit one of the 16 total batters he faced.
The Yankees have lost to the Jays the last four times Burnett started the game, two of which were in Toronto.
This could certainly end Burnett’s 3-0 April winning streak, as Burnett is known to start off every season hot only to fall on his face. This is the ideal situation for past-disasters, so this is a big test for Burnett to earn some real trust back.
Burnett is up against a Jays-team that is 4-2 at home, with nine homeruns so far this season.
It comes as no shock that slugger Jose Bautista is responsible for two of the long balls. Bautista has continued right where he left off last season hitting .455 thus far.
In his nine at-bats against Burnett, Bautista is hitting .444, with four hits, one double, two homeruns, six RBIs, drawn two walks and struck out twice.
Pretty sure Burnett will be watching out for Bautista, who might not be ready for Burnett’s resurrected change-up. This change-up proved dominate against the Orioles just day ago and Burnett claimed he has not thrown this pitch in over 12 years. It is certainly a nice addition to his wicked curveball and mid-90’s fastball.
Over the 2011 off-season everyone from Yankee fans to MLB experts, myself included, criticized every move or non-move that Cashman made. Citing many as desperate measures after the coveted arm of Cliff Lee went somewhere for less money NOT to wear the pinstripes.
Cashman did cause unnecessary havoc with the beloved team’s Captain Derek Jeter, but did it ever occur to you that Cashman might have just been the messenger? Ever heard the the saying, the messenger always gets killed?
So, what is my point?
Look, obviously hitting the three-week mark doesn’t make a dent in the 162 games played in a regular MLB season, and 2011 is no different.
This is not some ridiculous declaration that the Yankees are primed to win their division, or that any team’s future can be declared for that matter. It is a waste of breath because so much hasn’t happened yet.
One thing that has transpired over this short period is that Cashman’s off-season moves were not as despairing or irrational as initially thought and anyone who says otherwise is an idiot.
Imagine if Cashman didn’t go after catcher Russell Martin or that he didn’t go get Eric Chavez? He stuck to his guns about bringing in Bartolo Colon and Freddie Garcia, as Yankee fans were distraught about how he let Zach Grienke get away and blamed Cashman for Andy Pettitte’s departure.
Fact is without Cashman’s ‘terrible’ off-season, the Yankees would not be in the first place and would probably be off to a worse start than the Boston Red Sox, but without the potential or the back-up.
This is not to say that by the All-Star break the Yankees might resemble more of a nursing home type atmosphere, but with each game played this notion is diminishing.
Cashman didn’t bring in these players to build a team, he brought these veteran All-Stars in to support a team. They all know the ins and outs of baseball; are well aware of how long a season is and have certainly reminded fans that they know how to play. Maybe not everyday, but no one is asking them too.
After watching Garcia dominate the Texas Rangers with smarts and skill, along with the consistently hot bats of Chavez and Martin is enough proof to admit I was wrong.
Wait! Before anyone reading starts to disagree, spare me. I don’t blame Cashman for the Pedro Feliciano injury, as the Yankees had him checked out prior to the signing and he cleared. It was not Cashman’s fault because he would never have inked that deal if he knew about his shoulder. Look where Feliciano came from, the Mets who are not exactly reputable for anything expect messing up everything so blaming them should not be this hard.
So, I will apologize to Mr. Cashman for doubting him so fast. At the very least, we all should have given Cashman a right he has certainly earned, a chance to show us.
Hey cut me some slack, as what else would you expect from a Yankees fan?
Trip to scrap yard paying off for Cashman (nypost.com)
Well, on a cold and rainy day in the Bronx that was exactly what they got from starter and new Yankee Freddy Garcia in his official debut.
Throwing six-scoreless innings and completely blanking the heavy hitting Texas Rangers, the Yankees could not have written it any better.
Garcia pitched like a genius by keeping ahead in his counts by dominating the fastball swinging Rangers with his off-speed pitches. Garcia only allowed two hits and needed 84 pitches in the outing.
The Yankee bats followed starting with Mark Teixeira’s two-run homerun in the first inning but his fifth on the season, and the team never looked back, beating the Ranger 5-2.
Let me just say, I was in attendance for Garcia’s start and the weather conditions were about the least ideal possible. Garcia certainly put a smile on my face after six.
It was also great to see a still hyped up Joba Chamberlain come in the seventh. Joba seems to have been bitten by the same bug from 2007. It was utterly delightful to see Joba ecstatic about doing his job again.
The series finale is Sunday night at 8pm and both teams would like to come away with the series win.
Prior to the game, Phil Hughes officially moved to the 15-day DL with dead arm cited as the reason.
The hope is that getting on a daily long-toss program will build his arm strength and presumably he will work on his curveball to have a third pitch to use too. Whether this will be enough time for Hughes’ to work is up to genius and new pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
Hughes is understandably disappointed, but he seems to have come to grips that this had to happen and is confident it will work.
As unfortunate as the situation is, it had to be done. I was shocked, but relieved that happened to Hughes so soon, as Skipper Joe Girardi is infamous for giving endless chances to struggling pitchers.
Finally, Girardi made the right move, at the right time to avoid the possibility of jeopardizing any games outcomes by getting Hughes out.
To be honest, I was vey worried that because the team won the game that Hughes had started on Thursday night, that it might have been earned him another go. Blame it on me being on Girardi autopilot, but if Sergio Mitre had that identical performance, he would have won a rotation spot. Whatever, hopefully we can turn that page thank goodness and with no other ex-Marlins on the team I think Girardi can too.
Obviously Bartolo Colon, who has been dynamite coming in from the bullpen in long relief, will take over for Hughes. Colon has impressed everyone, which admittedly proves my theory completely wrong. As the 2005 CY Young winner can still dominate, which the Yankees desperately need Colon to continue to do.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Colon remains in the rotation from here on out, and Freddie Garcia gets moved to the bullpen by the time Hughes gets back.