On the last Monday of the summer, so long as you’re not being technical about it, the Yankees dropped a ho-hum matinée to Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles. A.J. Burnett was on the mound for the Yanks, and if we can all agree that CC Sabathia is the Sure Thing, Burnett is pretty much the opposite. He’s kind of like that hottie who sat next to you in history class. Most days she’d ignore you completely, but other days, for no apparent reason, she’d look in your direction and flash a smile that would make Galileo wonder if the sun really might not be the center of the universe.
To be fair to Mr. Burnett, he was decent last week against the A’s, and there was hope that he might be able to string a few good starts together to build some momentum for the playoffs. What’s baseball, afterall, without the hope?
Burnett pitched fairly well, but just well-enough to lose. The O’s scrapped together a few hits to take a 1-0 lead in the third, but Alex Rodríguez erased that deficit with a monster shot off the back of the bullpen wall in left. It was his 100th RBI, which is historic. This is A-Rod’s thirteenth straight season with a hundred RBIs, a streak matched only by Lou Gehrig and Ol’ Double-X, Jimmy Foxx. It’s also is fourteenth time overall that he’s reached the century mark, something no one else in the history of the game has ever done. Not bad.
But back to Burnett. The Baltimore bats rang a bit louder in the fifth, but Burnett again escaped with just a single run allowed when Brian Roberts was nailed at second attempting to stretch his RBI-single into a double. Things unravelled a bit more in the sixth when Burnett started the frame by allowing a single to Felix Pie and a walk to Nick Markakis. Things like this happen, but Burnett compounded the problem by wild-pitching the runners to second and third. He struck out Luke Scott, which was nice, but Matt Wieters followed with a sacrifice fly and it was 3-1.
The Yankees scored twice in the bottom half of the inning to level the score, but the tie didn’t last long. In a virtual replay of the fifth inning, Brian Roberts delivered a two-out RBI-single (this time to right) and was thrown out at second. The inning was over, but it didn’t really matter. The Orioles had a 4-3 lead, and they’d bring it home from there.
Two quick notes before I go. First, Derek Jeter is looking a bit better. His final at-bat last night was a line drive out to right field, and he built on that by stroking a double off the wall in right center to lead off the game this afternoon. Baby steps.
Second, Joe Girardi is, at least, consistent. But as Ben Franklin once said, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. A-Rod walked with two outs in the eighth inning, and Girardi reflexively sent in a pinch runner. I know I’ve complained about this before, but it still makes me absolutely crazy to see him take his best hitter out of a one-run game.
Okay, that’s all from here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some aïoli to make and some burgers to grill.