At Least A.J. Looked Good

September 19, 2009 – 10:14 am

Seattle 3, NYY 2. Now that was a weird loss. A.J. Burnett actually gets a quality start (albeit against the weakest hitting team in the league), Phil Hughes does his usual number in the 8th, and then Mariano Rivera of all people gets rocked and the Yankees are on the losing end of a walk off. Overall I guess you have to call it a “good” loss in that Burnett did appear to be somewhat back to pitching well. And certainly you’re not going to worry about Mariano. Heck, one way of looking at it is that Mo was overdue for a bad outing — he had a streak of 36 consecutive successful saves — so maybe best he get it out of the way before the playoffs. And getting Burnett back in a groove before the playoffs would also be a plus.

Overall A.J. didn’t look all that great, but it was a definite improvement over what we’ve seen of late. It looked like he was going to have a typical meltdown in the third inning when he allowed the first four batters to reach safely on two singles, a double, and a walk. But fortunately he picked off Ichiro with a nifty move, and then after one run had scored he settled down and got out of the inning. And from there on he didn’t allow a runner to get in to scoring position. He also amazingly picked off Ichiro again in the seventh — in fact, had it not been for the two Ichiro pickoffs, he quite likely would have scored on both occasions as Gutierrez subsequently got hits following the pickoffs.

I wonder if I was the only one thinking you walk Ichiro in that situation in the ninth? He’s already 3-for-4 on the night, he’s a singles machine, he never strikes out, and he’s batting over .350. With two outs, why not put him on first and take your chances with Gutierrez? And I wonder if it occurred to anyone that Ichiro probably came to the plate with a bit of extra determination as a result of having been picked off twice earlier — had it not been for those two plays, Seattle would probably already have won the game. Of course Rivera would have been insulted had Girardi even proposed the idea, and understandably so. But still…… oh well.

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