Let me get this straight . . . the Yanks have a payroll which would bring the California budget back to even. And we have to rely on the legendary arm of A.J. Burnett to save our season?
The guy has been a sick day in spikes for most of his forgettable tenure in the Bronx. He has some wicked stuff but his cabeza is as empty as the orchestra seats at the Stadium. He has more tats than big wins and it’s not even close. That monsters ball of a contract Brian Cashman signed him to back in the winter of ’08 could only be excused if Don Corleone and Luca Brasi had been in the room. Finding the nadir to Burnett’s 2011 season is like tracing the descent of the Titanic all the way to the bottom of the North Atlantic. But there was an actual bottom and it happened in Baltimore when he gifted us with a 5 inning 9 earned run sweetheart to run his record almost entirely into the ground at 9 wins and 11 losses.
But he hasn’t lost since. And while his 4.30 September ERA doesn’t evoke images of Whitey Ford, at least the final month served as a breaker. It helped to stave off the tide of misadventures Burnett had been stomping through with all the dexterity of Detective John McClane but none of the feng shui. The million dollar arm needed to talk that ten cent head of his into a furtive alliance for the space of a couple hours work last night.
Five and two thirds innings of one run ball works for me. And it worked plenty fine for the Yankees, even if they still look old as hell at times and vulnerable in the clutch moments. And at some point, they’re gonna have to win a close game if they plan on going deep into the fall. Winning last night happened because A.J. didn’t cave early on despite allowing more walks than the Mexico-U.S. border.
It happened at all because of a couple of amazing catches by Granderson in center. Grandy saved at least three runs in the very first inning with his stutter stepped swipe of Kelly’s liner. If he doesn’t make that catch, A.J. is currently in the witness protection program in Arizona- chowing down on egg noodles and ketchup. But it doesn’t matter. Grandy made ’em. A.J. settled. The Yanks won.
Game Five- Do or Die- tomorrow. Now it’s getting fun.