Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Burnett Continues to Struggle, Yankees Fail to Clinch Playoff Berth

Despite my best efforts, I found myself unable to spin the few positive aspects of this game into a positive game summary. Yes, the bullpen allowed only four baserunners in 5.2 IP - this despite 'B' relievers Jonathan Albaladejo, Dustin Moseley, and Chad Gaudin toeing the rubber for four of those innings. Yes, the offense showed signs of life, driving a fair amount of balls, taking pitches, and working counts. That being said ... there's really nothing positive left to say.

A.J. Burnett has been nothing short of atrocious for the vast majority of the season, and tonight was no exception. The anomalous righty allowed seven earned over 2.1 IP, struggled to find the strikezone, gave up hard contact, and seemed to have no discernible movement on his pitches. Since his excellent run to open the season (that's right, he had a 1.99 ERA, 2.5 K/BB, and four quality starts in his first six outings), Burnett has a 6.30 ERA over his last 140 IP. That includes 162 H, 65 BB, and only 112 K. His FIP over that time sits at around 5.36, to boot, meaning that there's really no way to place an optimistic spin on the last four-plus months. The idea of him starting a game in the postseason makes me shudder, regardless of his fine performance last Fall. Here's hoping something clicks.

I'm quite certain that many are going to fault the Yankees offense for this game, but it's difficult to dig out of such a deep hole. Marc Rzepczynski may not be a household name, but his stuff is very good, and that was on display tonight. It seems as if Toronto has the Yankees number this season, and their 9-7 record against the pinstriped patsies is indicative of that. Granted, the Blue Jays have a very good team - one that could likely fight for a playoff spot in any other division ... but this feels like a season series the Yankees should have won, rather than one that they'd be fighting to tie Tuesday and Wednesday.

Player of the Game: Marc Rzepczynski, Vernon Wells
Honorable Mention: John Buck
Dishonorable Mention: A.J. Burnett

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