Yet Another Pitchers’ Duel

May 5, 2010 – 11:03 am

NYY 4, Baltimore 1. Poor Brian Matusz needs to find someone other than the NY Yankees and A.J. Burnett to pitch against. For the second time in the last week, Matusz faced A.J., with pretty much the exact same results. Both times he’s gone six innings and given up just three runs (the old “quality start”), and all he’s got to show for it is two losses. A.J. had his curveball working as good as I’ve ever seen it, and the result was 1 R 0 ER 5 H over 7.1 innings. He’s off to one of his best starts ever (4-0 1.99 ERA), but I’m going to give it another month before I believe this is a new, improved version of A.J. If memory serves, last year Bad A.J. would show up about every third start, and he’s had two excellent back-to-back starts now, so his next start in Boston could be very revealing.

Cervelli To The DugoutThanks to A.J., the Yankees didn’t need much offense to win this one, and they sure didn’t get much either — although to be fair, a lot of that was due to the pitching of rookie Matusz, as noted. And once again, what offense there was came from the bottom of the order — with the six-thru-eight batters going 4-for-8 with two RBIs and all four of the Yankee runs. Francisco Cervelli led the way, going 3-for-3 with a triple, single, and sac bunt that started the scoring in all three innings that the Yankees did score in. All the so-called experts consider Cervelli to be nothing more than a backup catcher with good defensive skills but little offense — but from what I’ve seen so far last season and the first month of this season, he sure has me fooled what with a .387 BA so far this year. Plus his defense has been stellar (witness the diving catch in to the dugout last night), and he seems to call an excellent game from behind the plate — in ten starts so far, opponents are averaging just 2.3 RPG, and in six of those starts they’ve scored only one run or been shut out. And on top of that, he’s a fun kid to watch with a lot of enthusiasm. I love me some Jorge behind the plate, but Cervelli fills in more than nicely when called on.

Photo: NY Post

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