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Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

Apr 22, 2012, 8:21 AM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates Getty Images

The Pirates finally got a look at offseason acquisition A.J. Burnett on Saturday in Pittsburgh. And they had to be pretty pleased with what they saw.

Burnett loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the first inning, but he wiggled out of that jam with two strikeouts and a lineout, and wound up yielding just three hits over seven shutout innings against the defending World Series champion Cardinals.

The 35-year-old right-hander struck out seven, walked just two and allowed only three hits.

53 of his 76 pitches went for strikes.

Burnett is fully recovered from the fractured orbital bone that he suffered during a late-spring bunting drill and looks poised to provide the Pirates’ starting rotation with some semblance of stability this summer. In case you’re keeping score at home, the National League Central remains a far more comfortable division for pitchers than the American League East.

Your Saturday box scores:

Cardinals 0, Pirates 2

Reds 1, Cubs 6

Marlins 2, Nationals 3

Rangers 10, Tigers 4 (Game 1)

Giants 4, Mets 5

Yankees 15, Red Sox 9

White Sox 4, Mariners 0

Dodgers 5, Astros 1

Rangers 2, Tigers 3 (Game 2)

Blue Jays 9, Royals 5

Rockies 4, Brewers 9

Twins 1, Rays 4

Braves 3, Diamondbacks 2

Phillies 1, Padres 5

Orioles 3, Angels 6

Indians 5, Athletics 1

  1. proudlycanadian - Apr 22, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Nice to see Rasmus hit 2 home runs. Earlier in the month he hit several fly balls to the warning track. The temperature is warming up and the ball is now going out of the park. Unlike St. Louis, there is no pressure on Rasmus and he is starting to relax and perform. St. Louis and LaRussa were a bad dream for him.

    • pharmerbrown - Apr 22, 2012 at 9:33 AM

      I have it on good authority that his father sat the ball down and complained about how it was treating Colby so far this year.

    • cur68 - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      That was a little somthin’ somethin’, eh? Kid’s got a real power swing: easy looking, flat through the zone, and plenty of bat speed. He’s even trimmed his sheepdog hairdo he was working on. Its was a nice night for him.

      • missthemexpos - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        Begs the question, Is there a correlation between the shearing and the vastly improved power numbers?

      • cur68 - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        I contend there was.

    • spudchukar - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      Here is to hoping Rasmus can keep things turned around. But I am skeptical. Trust me, as a Cards fan, we have seen these flashes of brilliance before. His effortless talent is seductive.

      As for his new surroundings contributing to his recent surge, weren’t these the same surroundings for the first 10 games when he was slumping badly?

      • wlschneider09 - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:55 AM

        ‘Tis a valid point, but the nice thing to see for folks on the Rasmus wagon is the way that the Jays stuck with him through the tough stretch.

      • spudchukar - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        We stuck with him for almost 3 MLB years and 1440 plate appearances. Opportunity is not a complaint that Rasmus is justified in using to explain his failure in St. Louis.

      • wlschneider09 - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        You sorta stuck with him for three years, there was plenty of TLR effect on a day to day basis

      • paperlions - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        Rasmus’ problems are 100% mental. Dealing with players with fragile mental issues was never a strength of TLR. Who knows what Rasmus needs…maybe a hands off manager will allow him to be more productive and consistent, tinkering with his swing/approach and badgering him to change never worked. The kid isn’t particularly bright and seems to get frustrated easily….he also doesn’t seem all that interested in baseball at times (e.g. refusing to work on his game during the off-season).

        Super talented kid, hope he figures it out…but I think the key will be that he has to figure it out himself….no one is going to be able to do it for him.

      • paperlions - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        I check the box scores everyday hoping to see him doing some good.

  2. detroitfanatic - Apr 22, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Shields is the real deal. There was talk all offseason of him being traded. I sure wish the Tigers could have made a better offer than what they did. He might be the second best pitcher in the AL. I watched parts of the game, as I am in Minn on business, and the Twins never stood a chance. I think he gave up 3 hits til they ran him out in the 9th, when he was out of gas. Excluding opening day, he has given up 15 hits in 24.1 ip against the Red Sox, Tigers, and Twins. 3 earned runs over that period.

    People in my fantasy league said I reached for him in the 5th round.


    • wlschneider09 - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      Not to rain on your self-congratulatory parade, but it was the Twins after all.

      Trust me, they make a lot of pitchers look really stellar.

  3. Old Gator - Apr 22, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    After beating a dead bear for three games in the swank security of Macondo Banana Massacre Field, the rainbow warriors headed to Washington where Slobbering Ozzie’s intrepid crew is intent on making amends for their leader’s malaprops about Fidel, so they’re playing with a futility matched only by US Cuba policy. The normally reliable Gaby Sanchez took a double play grounder and threw it into short left field trying to nail the lead runner and the Gnats filleted the Feesh again on a walkoff sac fly by the next batter.

    The Feesh went out this offseason determined to add some bench depth by rummaging through the MLB scrap heap. They seem to have succeeded – the bench is a bottomless pit at the moment. Slobbering Ozzie has been resting some of his regulars after the merciless grind of the first fifteen games or so, and with Infante nursing a sore groin and the Iron Giant a sore knee, he’s been plugging the irregulars into his punchless lineup (four runs scored in thirty plus innings, including a 22 inning scoreless stretch). I keep checking my cable channel lists to be sure I’m not really picking up the Crew of the Minnow instead of the Feesh, but no, it’s the Feesh.

    The horror, the horror.

    • natstowngreg - Apr 22, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      The Nats started Mark DeRosa and Chad Tracy in the #3-4 slots. Ryan Zimmerman had a bit of an ouchie in his shoulder and Adam LaRoche (surprisingly productive in April) had the day off. Michael Morse is on the DL. A fair-minded person could look at the two lineups and see that the Fish had the better offensive potential. Zero sympathy here.

      The Nats are 12-4. Not that they deserve to be 12-4, though the starting pitching has been, on the whole, excellent. Considering how well the Fish have played in Washington, this was supposed to be the weekend when the bubble popped. But the Nats keep scuffling on, finidng ways to win. The trendlines won’t continue; the Nats won’t win 120 games and most likely, the Fish will finish over .500. Still, finding ways to win is an encouraging step in the Nats’ progress toward becoming a contender.

      • Old Gator - Apr 22, 2012 at 2:16 PM

        I beg to differ with you. With some luck and good health, the Gnats will be in it well into the fall. 120 games? No. But a legit shot at the extra wild card? Yep.

      • natstowngreg - Apr 22, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        Don’t think we’re disagreeing.

      • natstowngreg - Apr 22, 2012 at 3:14 PM

        That is, the Fish have the talent to contend for a wild card themselves. Think we can look forward to more meaningful Nats-Fish games for years to come.

  4. uyf1950 - Apr 22, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    An offensive explosion by the Yankees in 2 of the last 3 innings. How bad was the Sox pitching just look at these ERA numbers for Saturday’s pitchers after the game (not including Tazawa who pitched the 9th inning):
    – Doubront 3.94
    – Padilla 9.82
    – Albers 4.15
    – Morales 6.35
    – Aceves 24.00
    – Thomas 7.71
    Now I realize there are many on this board that do not consider ERA’s a good way to evaluate a pitchers performance. Then consider this in just these past 2 games the Red Sox pitchers have: struck out 13 while walking 10 and allowing 8 HR’s. I think any objective person would have to admit by any measure the Sox pitching has been very, very poor.

    The Yankees embarrassed the Red Sox in their own house 2 days in a row. BTW, after 14 games the Red Sox have exactly the same record this year as they did last year after 14 games (4-10).

    • yankeesfanlen - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      Indeed thosepitching stats indicate that the Sox are more than on the wane.
      The Yankees challenges this year are the Rangers. Tigers, Rays and Angels, probably in that order. Starters hould be settled within next 20 games.
      We’re right up there with Texas in runs scored, will it be a 1000 run Year? Let’s hope

      • uyf1950 - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:22 AM

        yankeesfanlen – in spite of the fact the way the Angels have started or that the Yankees recently took 2 of 3. I think the Rangers and Angels get 2 of the postseason spots with the Tigers winning the AL Central. That just leaves 2 left one for the winner of the AL East which I believe will be the Yankees and I believe the other WC will either be the Rays or get this the Jays. But there is still a lot of baseball left, obviously.

        Have a good day my friend.

    • spudchukar - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      Uyf, my good ol’ chap, congratulations on a marvelous comeback, especially vs. the Sox. But while reveling in a justified historic comeback, let’s not forget that at one point the Yanks were down 9-0 to the woeful Sox, and Garcia continues to implode.

      Pettitte’s return cannot be too soon, but even then the starting rotation is far from stellar.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        My friend, as the saying goes and it is particularly appropriate to the game in question. It’s not how you start but where you finish.

      • spudchukar - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        UYF, mon ami, a word to the wise. Finding silver linings, and concentrating on the positive may indeed aid the psyche, but ignoring glaring weaknesses is a recipe for disaster. You can only whistle past the graveyard so many times before you asked if you want a job digging graves.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:03 PM

        spudchukar, my friend. I forgot one thing in my reply just now. With the Yankees offense the rotation doesn’t need to be stellar it only needs to be decent or good. Have a good day.

      • spudchukar - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:12 PM

        UfY, that pal of mine, that strategy may indeed get you to the playoffs, but will find you watching the more complete teams vying for the WS crown.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        spudchukar, it’s funny you a fan of the Cardinals of all teams should mention that. I’m not sure but as best I can recall it wasn’t the Cardinals pitching that won them the World Series verses the Rangers.

        Besides I said the Yankees pitching with their offense only had to be good to decent. And sometimes it takes a bit of luck regardless of the pitching or hitting. I’m sure the Phillies can attest to being on the wrong side on that concept last year.

      • paperlions - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM

        My god, would you two get a room….or better yet, go on a cruise together.

  5. natstowngreg - Apr 22, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Random thoughts about yesterday’s games.

    Those Kemp and Verlander kids could become pretty good players someday.

    Hello, James Shields is good.

    A.J. Burnett pitched 7 scoreless innings. Cory Leubke outpitched Roy Halladay. Phil Humber pitched a perfect game. The NFL likes to brag about how something can happen on any given Sunday. In MLB, something can happen on any given day of the week. Just one more reason baseball is better than football.

    BTW, Phil Humber, worst pitcher ever to pitch a perfect game? Even if it’s true, so what?

    When are Red Sox fans going to realize their team isn’t very good? Probably, right after Valentine is fired.

    The Braves won again. Somewhere in central Ohio, Craig is puffing on his bubble pipe, happy at the development, but knowing that it won’t last.

    • jimbo1949 - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      “worst pitcher ever to pitch a perfect game?” Dallas Braden?
      As for Humber, one of the surer signs of incipient talent is to have been traded from the Mets. He was a 1st round draft choice, 3rd overall in 2004, and one of 7 former Mets to throw a no hitter. 50 years and no Metropolitan has pitched a no hitter.

      • wlschneider09 - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        Braden isn’t that terrible, just injury prone.

        Charlie Robertson.

  6. hushbrother - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Watching Burnett pitch, it was an odd sight: a hard-throwing Pirates starting pitcher. When was the last time the Bucs had a power pitcher of any kind in their rotation? Even in the early 90s their best pitchers were control artists (Drabek, Walk) or knuckleballers (Wakefield). With Cole and Taillon on the horizon, last night’s game could be a sign of things to come.

  7. icanspeel - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    The Padres finally beat the Phillies and Cory Luebke outpitched Roy Halladay, is the world ending?

  8. cur68 - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Burnett will thrive in Pittsburgh. He has electric stuff and, after the pressure cooker of the tiny lil Yankee Stadium, he can pitch knowing that every time someone sneezes with bat-contact on his pitches they don’t fly into a New Yorker’s lap looking for comfort. Good luck AJ. I think you’ll have a great season.

    • jimbo1949 - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      Not the first high profile player unable to live up to the hype in the Big Apple, won’t be the last. I’m hoping he’ll thrive in the ‘burgh, he does have the talent.

  9. APBA Guy - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Brian Fuentes is the second highest paid player on the A’s. I considered that as I watched pitch after pitch in the center of the strike zone in the 8th inning last night, after Brandon McCarthy’s tight-rope act had kept the game close for 7 innings. The A’s seemed stunned by the patience of the Indians after the total impatience of the Angels. Jeanmar Gomez has to have the softest sub-2.00 ERA in the AL right now, but sub 2.00 it is after the A’s refused to exhibit patience of their own.

  10. spudchukar - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Another lackluster performance from St. Louis. Westbrook was very good again, a couple of two out bloobs did him in, though he could have made better pitches in those situations, but hey, nobody is perfect.

    Burnett tried to hand the Birds the game in the opening inning, but our situational hitting again floundered with poor at bats from Beltran and Freese. Holiday, continues to be a ground out machine, and that is if he doesn’t strikeout. Another day with frustratingly poor approaches at the plate. If St. Louis were healthier, I would suggest a couple of days off to clear his head, but that isn’t likely or prudent with Jay, Schumaker and Berkman shelved.

    Craig homered last night in his rehab start. His promotion cannot come too quickly.

    • spudchukar - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      Not a particularly intelligent comment on my part regarding the “nobody is perfect”, coming on the heels of Humber’s gem.

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