For the second straight night in a row at Yankee Stadium, the New York faithful exited the park early; unwilling to further watch the Bombers sink deeper into the dark abyss, aka early winter.
If there is anything positive that can be taken away from last night's game 4 debacle, it's that AJ Burnett pitched a quality game. The AJ of old was in full force for the first couple of innings of a game, that many fanatics--myself included--believed would go their way. He retired the first six batters he faced, with a fierce fastball that averaged 95 on the radar gun. Things got a little shaky for Burnett in the third inning when he walked Rangers left fielder David Murphy after being ahead in the count, 0-2, and then followed that with a hit to catcher Bengie Molina's left elbow. Shortstop Elvis Andrus scored Murphy on a ground-out, and third baseman Michael Young scored Molina on a tapper that Alex Rodriguez couldn't handle. But AJ recovered well and allowed the game to remain close until he gave up a 3-run moon shot by Molina in the 6th inning, which put Texas up 5-3. The Bombers would never recover.
I for one was proud of Burnett. I thought he was aggressive, confident and unnerved by the obvious pressure of a big game that would probably make-or-break the Yankees in this series. He did his job, albeit the mistake to Molina cost them the game, but he did his job nonetheless.
With that said, however, there are some questions that have to be answered about the sequence that lead to Molina's 2-run homer, and they need to be answered by Joe Girardi.
Why was Burnett kept in the game after allowing a lead-off single to Vladimir Guerrero in the sixth inning? At that point the Yankees were leading 3-2; Burnett had already given the Yankees what they needed from him, so why not pull him and perhaps bring in Dustin Moseley, who pitched a two-inning masterpiece in game 1 and hasn't seen action since?
Rangers top Yankees in Game 4
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Why in the world would you have Burnett walk Murphy to pitch to Molina, essentially putting the go-ahead run on base that late in the game? Typical Girardi wanting to play the "numbers" game; realizing that Murphy hit well against Burnett. Instead of a walk, wouldn't this have been the right time to call in a reliever? YOU DO NOT WALK THE GO-AHEAD RUN IN A POTENTIAL DO-OR-DIE GAME IN LATE INNINGS. Can anyone say baseball management 101?
And, why was David Robertson, who had excellent command of his fastball, pulled in the seventh after quickly taking care of the only two batters he faced, Andrus and Young? Was it absolutely necessary to bring in Boone Logan for a lefty-to-lefty match up with Josh Hamilton, who has become what A-Rod was to the the Yankees last year?
|This kid's face says it all.|
Can the Yankees stage a comeback? Of course they can. Has it been done before? Absolutely. Will fanatics be sitting on the edge of their seats for this afternoon's do-or-die game 5? No question.
AJ Burnett: 6.0 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs, 1 HR (Molina), 4 strikeouts
Tommy Hunter: 3.1 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 1 HR (Cano), 5 strikeouts
Cano: 2-for-3, 1 HR, 1 BB
Jeter: 2-for-5, 1 run
Rangers scored 8 runs innings 6 through 9