A.J. And Yankees Roll On

July 28, 2009 – 11:01 am

NYY 11, Tampa Bay 4. The Yankee juggernaut continues to roll on. A.J. Burnett was once again dominating, going 7 innings and allowing just 1 run on 2 hits. That’s eight straight “quality” starts for him and the Yankees are 7-1 in those games. Right now he’s the Yankee ace, period. But today, the Yankees could have probably started Kei Igawa and got the win, as the offense pounded the Rays’ James Shields along with every reliever they brought in for 11 runs on 15 hits. Once again, it was everybody up and down the order contributing. Every starter got at least one hit, and everyone in the lineup except for Mark Teixeira either got an RBI or scored a run. Recently the Yankees have been scoring with a lot of small ball in what for the most part have been closely contested, low-scoring games. But tonight it was all power ball. Of the 11 runs, 10 came via extra-base hits. Four of which were home runs — Robbie Cano hit one solo homer, Nick Swisher connected on two solo shots, and Johnny Damon capped things off with a 3-run homer in the 9th.

Damon Gets No. 200And kudos to Damon for that home run — it was his career 200th homer, a milestone he was clearly happy to finally reach. It was his first home run since July 4. And somewhat surprisingly, Damon actually played some pretty good offense tonight, at one point robbing Gabe Gross of an extra base hit with a good running catch in deep left-center. It sure would be nice to see Damon back to playing a bit more reliable left field.

If there was any “bad” news in this game it was that the middle relief once again got exposed as being somewhat weak, as both Jonathan Albaladejo and David Robertson got roughed up a bit. With the lead the Yankees had, it was no big deal — although at one point it did end up with Mariano Rivera having to start getting warmed up. It hardly seems fair to complain though, with the starting pitching and the late-inning relief being as strong as it is. So it’s going to be interesting to see what moves, if any, Brian Cashman makes. The offense is solid enough, but as they say, you never have enough pitching. One more good arm in the bullpen, and maybe a decent No. 4 or 5 starter, would certainly be nice insurance at this point.

Photo: Daily News

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