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No, it is not all up to A.J.

Oct 4, 2011, 10:00 AM EST

A.J. Burnett

I had one earlier, but here’s one more little sharp jab at the “A.J.-Burnett-Will-Be-The-Death-of-Us-All” balloon:  he may not actually pitch too terribly much of tonight’s game.

Joe Girardi said last night that Burnett will have a short leash, so we can presume that he will not be allowed to give up five runs on eleventeen hits or whatever it is our worst fears of A.J. Burnett‘s performance are.  It’s an elimination game, so you know Girardi will empty the pen if he has to and worry about Game 5 if and only if there is a Game 5.

So while, yes, Burnett having a good start is critical for the Yankees, he likely won’t be allowed to blow the game all by himself.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    The key for the Yankees tonight is scoring runs in the first or second inning. Take some pressure off AJ. Also, allow Girardi to pull him earlier if they have a lead. I think the Yankees will do just that. Porcello is so overmatched he may be crawling up in the fetal position and crying by the 2nd inning.

    #reversejinx

    • itsmekirill - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:25 AM

      I thought Max “4.5 ERA” Sherzer was going to be overmatched.

      • Old Gator - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:53 AM

        True, but still – if you’re a Borg fan, counting on A. J. to bail you out is a little like checking into rehab and finding that Conrad Murray is the dependency specialist on your ward.

  2. drunkenhooliganism - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    Three innings from AJ. Three innings from Phil Hughes. Halloween is coming early for the empire.

    I still expect them to win a 10-8 game, then have to turn off all media for the next 24 hours so I don’t have to hear about how mentally tough the Yankees are.

  3. Francisco (FC) - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    A.J. needs to be pulled after 18 batters. That’s 4th or 5th inning more or less. The risk of implosion increases exponentially after that.

    If A.J. pitches masterfully and goes 7 giving up 1-2 runs while the lineup puts up 4 or 5 runs, watch the NY headlines tomorrow: A.J. IS THE BEST YANKEE EVAH

    • vintage1496 - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:23 AM

      Which NY paper are you reading that has a Boston accent?

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:14 AM

        They’ll effect a Boston accent just to give the Red Sox fits.

    • yankeesfanlen - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:39 AM

      More appropriately, “WHEW”.

  4. bigleagues - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    “GOOD AJ COME TO PLAY”
    Embattled Yankees Starter Delivers 4 1/3 8-Hit Shutout Innings

  5. yankeesfanlen - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    Short leash it is. I would have preferred Phil Hughes to start anyway, and Girardi is going to be all TLR tonight.
    What matters is the line-up, and I don’t care which way the deck chairs are lined up. We need everyone to hit, turn those hits into runs, turn those runs into rallies.That’s all.
    There is no strategy. See the ball, hit the ball. Or in Pocello’s case, let it go by and walk.
    Then, repeat Thursday night with Nova on the mound at home.

  6. cur68 - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    So far this series, and indeed most of them, have been about aces not being so ‘ace’ and unlikely guys playing a part. I’ve developed a complex about Posada in the post season; when he comes up I mentally credit him with being on base. He just is in the post season; always on base, one way or another.

    AJ will be much the same way, I predict. Relatively dreadful during the reg. season and relatively clutch in the post. The big difference might not be AJ. It might be Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin, Jr and his bruised, maybe busted spleen. He has GOT to be sore after taking that heater in the armpit. Can he jump around enough to keep those wild pitches from being runs?

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:55 AM

      Not the Phillies series cur….don’t you know that Lee wasn’t the problem…it was the Cardinals potent offense that deserves all the credit. :D

      • cur68 - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        Stop baiting Blue Jay’s fans. Always picking on us….

  7. seanmk - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    i know you mentioned this earlier Craig by why are people forgetting that the tigers have to use rick porcello tonight, who hasn’t been all that good this year, and if it gets to a game five the tigers have to use brad penny/doug fister and the yankees use ivan nova/CC in relief possibly on thursday. If this game becomes a bullpen game i’d probably say the yankees have the advantage in that department over the tigers.

    i understand that porcello had a win against the yankees already this year (against burnett no less), but he was sort of lucky that game giving up 8 hits 2 walks with only 3 strikeouts. If you played that game 10 times with burnett only giving up 3 hits and a walk and 5 Ks the yankees win that more then they lose it but fielding undid the yankees in that game.

  8. bobwheel - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    It’s going to be the typical roller coaster ride one experiences while watching Burnett – sometimes electric stuff, alot of balls in the dirt, missed spots, etc. Totally exasperating, but somehow I feel he’ll pull it out. He was cruising along against Texas last year, but Joe left him too long and Melina crushed a pitch to finish him off. I don’t think Joe will make the same mistake twice. Hughes threw well in his last relief appearance in Tampa, so there’s some hope. Porcello has a great sinker when he’s on, but opponents are batting close to .300 against him this year. He has a lot of talent, but he’s not ready for prime time. The Yankees will take it tonight and then return to the Bronx to wrap it up.

  9. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    AJ has decent career numbers against the Tiger’s hitters:

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/batvspitch/_/id/4153/aj-burnett

    Really if he can keep the ball in the park he should be OK. A chilly night in Detroit’s ball park should help with that immensely.

    Hughes in relief should also be OK, since his usual bugaboo is big flies at home. Just make sure he never pitches to Cabrera (7-14, 3 HR).

    If I was putting money down, I like AJ/St. Phil more than the PP boys (Porcello/Penny) in Comerica. Andruw pwns Penny.

  10. Charles Gates - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    Burnett is either pretty good or very, very bad. I don’t mind rolling the dice on him with a short leash hoping to get 5+ IP with less than 3 ER, which he’s done in 38% of his starts this year. First sign of trouble, yank (pun intended) him. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he dropped a 6.1 IP, 2 ER 3 BB 7 K line tonight.

    Speaking of which, what’s the NY narrative if Burnett is not the end of the world? Girardi knows his clubhouse? Dodged a bullet? Veteran grit? Sunshine on a dog’s ass? Dare I say clutch?

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