Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Game 84: On The Run

Almost exactly one month ago, A.J. Burnett tossed a 2 2/3 inning, 5 hit, 5 walk, 5 run clunker against the Red Sox and Josh Beckett. At that point, Burnett had a 4.89 ERA, a 4-3 record and some assurance for his detractors:
"When I do get on that run, it's going to be impressive," he said. "I promise you that."
In his four starts since then, Burnett has notched three wins, with his only loss coming when he threw 6 1/3 innings of one run ball against the Marlins in a game the Yankees lost 2-1. On that run he predicted, A.J. has thrown 27 1/3 innings and given up just three runs, good for a 0.99 ERA, lowering his season mark to 3.83 in the process. He's allowed only 16 hits and walked 12 while striking out 33 and has easily been the Yankees best starter over that time.

A last minute scratch by the Twins swaps Glen Perkins (out with a fever) for rookie Anthony Swarzak, who was originally supposed to be starting tomorrow night. The big 23 year old righty has made five starts in the Majors this year, with his first and last being the most impressive. Against the Brewers on May 23rd, he threw 7 shutout innings en route to the victory, and he equaled that feat against the Cubs on June 13th. He was sent down to Triple A Rochester shortly thereafter, where he has sported a 2.34 ERA over his 10 starts in 2009.

Swarzak's number are much better away from the HHH than at home and he will have to attempt to correct that while facing what is close to the most potent line-up the Yankees have to offer. Jorge Posada will be behind the plate, A-Rod at third, Hideki Matsui in the DH slot and Damon, Gardner and Swisher manning the outfield, from left to right.

After thumping the Twins last night, the Yanks are 5-0 against them this year have have won 17 of their last 23 meetings, dating back to 2006. A win tonight would be the Yankees' 1100th against the Twins franchise, although that record dates all the way back to April 29th, 1901, when the Yankees were still the Baltimore Orioles and the Twins were the Washington Senators.

More relevantly, if Burnett can continue his dominant charge, the Bombers could notch their 50th win of the season tonight. The Yanks aren't in Kansas, but don't forget that the Central Time start pushes the game back til 8.

[synthesizer noises]

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