A-Rod Drops A-Bomb On Gardenhire

May 15, 2010 – 11:28 am

NYY 8, Minnesota 4. Could it be that the middle of the Yankee batting order is finally starting to wake up? Hopefully that’s what we saw last night, and if so the timing couldn’t be better what with all the injuries that are starting to pile up.  When your DH is batting eighth and has all of 22 career ABs, you know you’ve got some serious problems. In the fourth with no outs and runners on second and third — that situation has a run expectancy of 2.05 — Randy Winn, Greg Golson, and Juan Miranda each struck out. You just have to come away from that situation with at least one run.

Grand SlamBut the middle of the lineup came to the rescue, going a combined 8-for-15 with 7 RBIs, with Alex Rodriquez getting the game winner with the grand slam in the seventh inning. And we should all thank Ron Gardenhire for a classic case of over-managing that cost his team the game. He brings in Brian Duensing with one out and runners on second and third, and he promptly gets the first man out. Duensing has an ERA of 1.32, a BAA of .189 and has not allowed a run to score in his last 10 appearances. So why not let him finish the inning? That would make too much sense. Instead he has Duensing intentionally walk Mark Teixeira, and then brings in Matt Guerrier to face of all people Alex Rodriquez with the bases loaded and the game on the line. That’s a stupid call under any circumstances — but to make it insanely stupid, A-Rod’s numbers against Guerrier were 4-for-6 with 3 — yes three! — home runs. The result was all too predictable.

What I found most interesting about this game, though, was the version of A.J. Burnett that showed up. This one looked for the world like Bad A.J., with no control whatsoever over his fastball. Time and again he missed the plate by several feet. He walked four batters on four straight pitches. He ended the night with 49 of his 100 pitches being balls. But here’s the thing — unlike Bad A.J., who would have thrown up his skirt when his control disappeared, he kept battling on and kept the Yankees in the game. None of the four walks ended up hurting him, thanks in no small part to some great plays by Francisco Cervelli. In the end, Burnett went 6.2 innings and got the so-called “quality start” allowing just three runs (and only two earned at that). But this was certainly not Good A.J. — but nor was it Bad A.J. This was more like an Andy Pettitte version of A.J. Hopefully we will see more of this type of outing when A.J. doesn’t have his best stuff working for him.

Photo: Yahoo! Sports

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