The Bombers left New York after taking two of three games from the Texas Rangers, who they had not seen since the 2010 ALCS, so the team is feeling pretty confident right now.
For the Blue Jays, coming home was not nearly as sweet following a tough, 3-7-road trip.
With both teams having good reason behind taking the first game, let’s look at Tuesday night’s match-up on the mound.
AJ BURNETT, NYY:
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.
KYLE DRABEK, TOR:
Toronto will counter with 23-year-old righty Kyle Drabek, who has pitching in his blood, as his dad is former CY Young winner Doug Drabek.
So far in his first three starts Drabek has been phenomenal posting a 1.93 ERA, with 17 strikeouts in just shy of 19 innings pitched. Drabek’s only real issue is the 11 walks he has allowed, which could potentially be a real problem facing the patient Yankees line-up.
This is not Drabek’s first time facing the Bombers, as back in September of 2010 he struck out four, gave up three runs and only issued one walk in six innings against New York.
If Drabek can tame the Yankees by maintaining control and keeping the walks down, this could be another successful outing for the rookie.
If both pitchers, who are very similar, are throwing well this could very well turn into a pitchers duel. This is presuming that Burnett is still ‘the pitcher formally know as old AJ’ and that Drabek doesn’t issue a walk.
Burnett will need some insurance runs from the Yankee hitters, which was not so easy for them to do vs. Toronto last season finishing with a 6-9 record up in Canada.
Now having to play host to the Yankees, the Jays are at a fork in the road. As the Yankees will either prove to weigh to heavy a load or might be just the motivation the doctor ordered to get the team back to winning again.
This will be a definite nail-bitter, at least in Yankees Universe. New York will be watching Burnett with anticipation of hope, but in typical Yankee fan fashion…. expecting the worst.
This will be one interesting game you won’t want to miss.
- Facing Drabek, Burnett can stay unbeaten (mlb.mlb.com)
- AL Roundup: Yankees outslug Tigers (theglobeandmail.com)
- Burnett Wild In Yankees’ Loss To Blue Jays (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Burnett wild in Yankees’ loss to Blue Jays (theglobeandmail.com)
- Bronx Briefing: Bigger Burden For A.J. Burnett (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Burnett Off To Good Start, Yankees Top Tigers 10-6 (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Eric Chavez to the fore as Yankees edge the Texas Rangers (sportingo.com)
- New York Yankees AJ Burnett vs. Buck’s Birds aka Baltimore Orioles (ladylovespinstripes.com)