An A+ For A.J. As Yanks Romp Rays

July 27, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

A.J. Burnett entered Monday’s start at Tampa Bay with a stellar 1.93 ERA over his last seven games, and by the time he departed around 9:30 pm, that number went down even further.

The right-hander allowed just one unearned run on two hits and two walks, while striking out five in seven innings of work, leading the Yankees to an 11-4 victory over the Rays.

Burnett is now 6-1 with a 1.68 ERA over his last eight starts and is quickly making a case to unseat CC Sabathia as the team’s Game 1 starter if they reach the playoffs.

Here are the grades from New York’s 10th win in 11 days.


Joe Girardi, Manager: (A) After Burnett completed the sixth inning with 103 pitches, @rebecca_glass congratulated the starter on a great effort, while @Swifty_Read asked me if I thought Brian Bruney was going to pitch the seventh.  Thirteen years of Joe Torre will make Yankee fans start to expect their starter to exit after six brilliant frames if his pitch count is over 100.  But there’s a different Joe in charge these days and Girardi let Burnett pitch a rather tidy 1-2-3 seventh to give the bullpen one more inning of much needed rest.


Derek Jeter, SS: (A+) The captain went 3-5 with a walk and two runs scored to put him in fifth place in the American League in both average (.325) and on base percentage (.402).  An MVP is not out of the question for a player many considered “washed up” before the season.


Johnny Damon, LF: (A) Damon wasn’t invited to the party until the ninth inning, but he still wound up with a great gift.  The left fielder was 0-4 before belting his 200th career home run—a three-run shot to right.  The Yankees shouldn’t make the same mistake they made with Bobby Abreu; they should re-sign Damon for 2010.


Mark Teixeira, 1B: (A) Teixeira singled twice in six at bats.


Alex Rodriguez, 3B: (B+) A-Rod celebrated his 34th birthday with a two-run double in the eighth, which led YES broadcaster Ken Singleton to quote 50 Cent.


Hideki Matsui, DH: (C+) Godzilla singled, walked and scored in four at bats.


Jorge Posada, C: (C) Posada doubled in Matsui for the first run of the game in the second inning.


Robinson Cano, 2B: (A+) Cano likes being alone.  His solo shot in the sixth was the 47th bases empty homer of his career out of 77 total bombs.  He also added an RBI triple and his first two-walk game since May 15. 

The only mistake he made was showing up Melky Cabrera when Cabrera missed a hit-and-run sign.  While running to second base, Cano held out his arms in bewilderment as to why his teammate didn’t swing at the pitch before being tagged out.


Nick Swisher, RF: (A+) Swisher homered from both sides of the plate, including a moon shot in the sixth, but I was most impressed by his ground ball to the right side that scored Cano in the second inning.


Melky Cabrera, CF: (A) Cabrera singled, doubled, walked and scored a run.


A.J. Burnett, SP: (A+) The only mistake Burnett made was throwing away a pickoff throw in the sixth inning, which led to the sole run he surrendered.


Jonathan Albaladejo, RP: (F) I hope he didn’t unpack his suitcase.


David Robertson, RP: (D+) Robertson got a big out in the eighth inning before giving up a home run to Pat Burrell in the ninth.


Yankees Overall Grade: (A) Other than subpar performances by their sixth and seventh best relievers, this was a near perfect way for the Bombers to open up a nine-game road trip.


Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison.

Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees Community Leader. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com 

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