Now the Yankees have a problem.
They lost Game 3 of the ALCS 8-0 to the Texas Rangers, trail the series 2-1, and manager Joe Girardi appears committed to A.J. Burnett for Tuesday night's Game 4.
Considering the fact that Burnett went 10-15 in the regular season, 1-6 with a 6.20 ERA over his last 10 starts, and was never considered as an ALDS starter, the Yanks could well have to face an elimination game on Wednesday in Game 5.
Burnett certainly will have to step out of his 2010 character against a lineup that came alive late, tacking up six runs against the Yankees' bullpen in the ninth.
Taking on Andy Pettitte’s persona wouldn’t be a bad idea if the Yankee bats can liven up a bit. Those extra runs were just window-dressing as the Yanks were helpless against Cliff Lee. The left-hander limited them to two hits over eight innings, striking out 13 and outshining Pettitte’s own brilliance during seven innings of five-hit ball.
Pettitte’s only mistake came in the first when Josh Hamilton deposited his hanging slider in the right field stands for a two-run homer.
The closest the Yanks came to scoring off Lee came in the sixth when Brett Gardner moved into scoring position with one out. But Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira couldn’t bring him around. Lee looked as fresh in his final innings as he did when he retired the first 11 batters he faced before Mark Teixeira walked with two out in the fourth. He didn’t give up a hit until Jorge Posada’s broken-bat single in the fifth.
RBI hits by Nelson Cruz, Bengie Molina and Elvis Andrus, a two-run single by Mitch Moreland, and Sergio Mitre’s wild pitch brought in the ninth-inning runs to make it easy for closer Neftali Feliz. In all, the two Rangers pitchers struck out 15.