A.J. Burnett (10-13, 5.08 ERA) v. Wade Davis (12-9, 4.19 ERA)
A.J. A-O.K.?: Now that the mysterious black eye is gone, it will be interesting to see if Burnett can perform as well as he did on Sept. 17 in Baltimore, when he allowed six hits and one walk (three runs) in seven innings. Though he got a no-decision, it was certainly a step in the right direction for Burnett, who also looked to be performing well in Texas on Sept. 11 before a rainstorm knocked him out of the game.
Since allowing 14 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings in two starts to Seattle and Chicago at the end of August, Burnett is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA, striking out 24 and walking 10.
Carl Crawford is 17-for-57 (.327) with one homer against Burnett, while Evan Longoria is 12-for-34 (.387) with one home run. The complete batter v. pitcher breakdown is here.
Wade To Go: In three starts against the Yankees this season, starter Wade Davis is 2-1 with a 3.85 ERA. He’s struck out 16 and walked 10, while allowing 18 hits, but has done a good job of limiting the Yankees ability to score. Derek Jeter is 5-for-12 against Davis, Robinson Cano is 5-for-11 and A-Rod is 4-for-12 with two home runs. The complete batter v. pitcher breakdown is here.
Jeter on the upswing?: Derek Jeter started out the year hitting .330 in April and then a still good .281 in May. It has not been so rosy since then. From June through August, Jeter posted month averages of .243, .245 and .239. His on-base percentage was never higher than .339 for any of those 30-day periods. September has been a bit better though, with the Yankee captain batting .257. He’s gotten hits in 10 consecutive games and is batting 14-for-45 (.311) in that span, which started in Texas on Sept. 10.
7:16 P.M. - Here's the upsetting thing if you're A.J. Burnett (or Joe Girardi, for that matter). Burnett was 0-2 to both Jaso and Zobrist, but Jaso singled and he threw four straight balls to walk Zobrist. That said, Burnett did a good job limiting the damage, giving up just a run on an Evan Longoria sac fly.
7:35 P.M. - A single and two strikeouts for Burnett in the second inning, much improved from the right hander who's been making strides in his last few starts. 31 pitches for Burnett too, not incredibly economical, but not bad either. Meanwhile the Yankee offense had nothing doing in the first inning.
7:42 P.M. - Davis is flat out dealing. No Yankees have reached base and only one out has even been in the air.
7:55 P.M. - Burnett has walked two men tonight, both came after he got 0-2 on them. He then threw four straight balls for the walk. He was almost at three men after getting Evan Longoria 0-2, and then throwing him three straight balls to go to a full count with two out and Carl Crawford on second in the third inning. But two straight fastballs were fouled off before Longoria finally grounded back to the pitcher on a curve.
8:02 P.M. - Aaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnd....we're in a rain delay. Could Burnett be undone by rain again? Stay tuned - same Newsday time, same Newsday channel for the thrilling conclusion.
10:01 P.M. - Game should restart relatively soon and we'll be here through the end of the game.
10:05 P.M. - Final line on Burnett is 51 pitches, 33 strikes (good ratio for him), 3 innings, one earned run, two hits, two walks, two strikeouts. Burnett, as we've noted, got into trouble with nibbling after he got ahead of a couple hitters, but otherwise did a nice job tonight. He's now had two starts cut short by rain, and he looked halfway decent in both starts.
In other news, it looks like Royce Ring will be in to pitch for the Yankees. He hasn't gotten a look yet this year, and as the only other lefty on the big league roster (bullpen wise), it'll be interesting to see if he can make a (brief) impression.
10:24 P.M. - Very impressive inning for Ring. He strikes out the first two hitters and then gets Bartlett to ground to second for the final out. And, by the way, how ridiculous is it that Jeremy Hellickson is the Rays longman? They have just an insane amount of talent.
10:44 P.M. - Nice job by Ring, 1 2/3 innings, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk. Girardi should give him a good, long look before the Yanks prep for the postseason. Now Dustin Moseley is in to finish off the fifth.
10:46 P.M. - Carl Crawford with an RBI single and it's 2-0 Rays.
10:55 P.M. - Lance Berkman, 19-for-52 (.365) since coming off the DL, just launched a homer to get the Yankees within 2-1. It's his first homer as a Yankee.
11:08 P.M. - And now Dan Johnson, who had just killed the Yankees (cough, cough Phil Hughes) in the last few weeks, homers for the Rays and Moseley is in a first and third, none out jam.
11:09 P.M. - Great baseball instincts by Tex and good tag by Cervelli cut down the runner at the plate. If the Yankees get out of this down just 3-1, you have to think they'll make some noise eventually.
11:12 P.M. - How good is Mark Teixeira? He may be doing nothing at the plate right now (foot bruise), but his fielding is top notch.
11:21 P.M. - Former Yankee Dionver Navarro can't block a ball in the dirt allowing Jeter to get to second base, and now A-Rod comes through with an RBI single, 3-2 Rays.
11:32 P.M. - Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria back-to-back homers for the Rays, who now lead 5-2. And it begs the question: why is Chad Gaudin pitching in a one run game with the Rays two best hitters at the plate? What's this, the third game he's blown or almost blown against the Rays in the last two weeks? Meanwhile, Jonathan Albaledejo must be chained in a dungeon below Yankee Stadium somewhere.
11:54 P.M. - Albaledejo throwing for the first time in 10 days. 6 out of 7 pitches to start have been balls.
12:14 P.M. - A two out single by Jeter in the bottom of the eighth, but Tex flies out to end the frame. Yanks have three more outs to score four more runs.
12:26 P.M. - Albaledejo gives up another run and walks three in his 1 1/3 innings of work, but it's not hard to imagine him being a bit rusty. After a great season as Triple A closer working consistently, he hasn't pitched for 10 days here at the big league level. Either way, those back-to-back homers off Chad Gaudin were the real nail in the coffin. This was clearly going to be a bullpen rest night after the rain knocked Burnett out early. Last licks for the offense here.
12:33 P.M. - And that'll do it, Rays win 7-2. The Yankees trailed 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 at different points, but when you only get four hits and one walk and use your worst/newest/least used relievers, you're not really putting together a recipe for success.
Tomorrow is Sabathia v. Price Part 2, and it's hard to imagine that could be any more exciting or tense the first go around. Rays trail the Yankees by just a 1 1/2 games with the victory tonight (this morning), so tomorrow is certainly important for New York.
Good night (morning) from here and we'll see you tomorrow. Remember to check online and in the paper tomorrow for Erik Boland and Ken Davidoff's take on the game.