A couple weeks ago, the closed captioning at Yankee Stadium translated A.J. Burnett as “A.J. Burning Net,” and I decided that’s how A.J. would be known in my household from now on. It also prompted me to check for A.J. Burnett anagrams*, which turned up, among other gems, A Burnt Jet and Nut Jar Bet. Being a natural pessimist, I tend to fixate on Burnett’s unpredictability. But when he’s on, he makes you forget all about those kind of jokes, and tonight was one of those nights; the Yankees strapped themselves on the back of the sizzling-hot Robinson Cano and cruised to a 4-0 win over Baltimore, winning the series and getting back on track after a few minor early-season blips.
Cano continued what I like to think of as his “Oh, You Didn’t Know? You Better Call Somebody” tour of the AL with two more home runs, a double, and a killer defensive play in the third inning – ranging way over to his right, then hurling the ball against his momentum right to Mark Teixeira’s glove, throwing out poor Nolan Reimold with one step to spare – that left A.J. Burning Net standing on the mound with his hands on his head in disbelief, and Derek Jeter staring at him like he’d just grown an extra head. He provided plenty of offense all by himself, but the Yankees also scattered 11 hits and a walk against Orioles pitching throughout the game; Baltimore starter Brian Matusz did pretty well in limiting the damage to three runs in six innings.
The Yankee scoring began in the first, when Jeter came home on Alex Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly. Cano’s first home run, a booming no-doubter, came in the fourth; he followed it with a double in the sixth, and Marcus Thames knocked him home with a double of his own. Finally Cano burned Alberto Castillo for his 8th homer of the year, and this one wasn’t cheap either (Ken Singleton: “I’ll have what he’s having”). We’ve seen Cano do this before for a few weeks at a time, usually later in the season, and obviously he’s not going to hit .407 all summer; but it’s spring, and for now I think I’ll just enjoy the many pleasant possibilities.
The Orioles threatened only mildly against Burnett, who eased through eight innings and 116 pitches (77 of them strikes) even without much of a curveball, and Mariano Rivera polished them off with 13 pitches, fava beans and a nice Chianti in the ninth. It all looked easy tonight.
*That same (very productive) evening, I discovered that Curtis Granderson has by far the best anagrams on the Yanks, including but not limited to: Corianders Strung, Transcends Rigour, Scarred Tonsuring, Crusader Snorting, Sardonic Restrung, Contrariness Drug, Unerring Cad Sorts, Graced Rosins Runt, and Rug Torn Acridness.
Also, one anagram for Michael Kay is: Lama Hickey. You’re welcome.