Saturday, September 12, 2009

Game 143: Hey Ninteen

After a late night, things return to normal for the Yankees. Although he'll be setting a new record with every hit that he collects, hype and hoopla surrounding Derek Jeter's ascent up the Yankees all-time hit list will have subsided. The game today won't take on the added feel of importance that has been palpable since the beginning of the homestand, it's just going to feel like another September game against a team that doesn't have anything left to play for.

A.J. Burnett takes the ball today and looks to build upon his last outing. He went six innings and allowed one run against the Rays and with 99 pitches under his belt at the time, might have been asked to go a little deeper had the Yanks not been leading 11-1 at the time.

That outing sprung Burnett from a stretch of 7 starts that brought his ERA up from 3.53 to 4.29 and gave him his first win since July 27th. That span was Burnett's worst of the season, but it had been immediately preceded by his best. The Yankees don't desperately need the games, but it would be awfully reassuring to have Burnett pitching well heading into the postseason.

The only benefit of being out of the picture for so a long time for Orioles fans is that it has allowed them to get a look at some of their young talent. Today, the O's serve up the Yanks with the 10th pitcher to make a start against them this year, Brian Matusz. Drafted out of the University of San Diego with the 4th pick of the 2008 draft, the tall lefty started at high A-ball this year, striking out 75 in 66 innings with a 2.16 ERA and then made the jump to double-A. Despite a drop in his strikeout rate in AA, Matusz was even better in the Eastern league, posting an ERA of 1.55 and averaging 6 2/3 innings per start. The O's called him straight up to the Big Leagues in the beginning of August and he's made 7 starts to a 5.26 ERA since then.

Like Chris Tillman who the Yanks saw yesterday, Matusz's marginal numbers this season with the Big League club doesn't mean much. He's only 22 years only and this two month stint in the Majors serves to get him some big league experience before he most likely begins next year down in AAA. Both Tillman and Matsuz are scheduled to be shut down for the season after one or two more starts.

With 19 games left in the season, the Yanks magic number is down to 14 while the O's have already been eliminated from Wild Card contention. Hopefully the Yanks can chip away at the latter figure while the O's continue to slide on down.

Hey nineteen,
No we got nothing in common,
No we cant talk at all,
Please take me along,
When you slide on down.

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