Results tagged ‘ Alex Rodriguez ’

Munson, Arroyo, rumors and more

munson_250.jpgBy Jon Lane
Sunday
marks the 30th anniversary of the tragic death of Thurman Munson, one
of the most gritty and popular players to ever wear a Yankees uniform.
We’re taking this week on YESNetwork.com to honor the captain with a
diary Yankees senior advisor Ray Negron kept during those five days in
August when the team mourned the loss of their teammate and friend.
Negron was the Yankees’ batboy in the 1970s and for the first time
shares his thoughts in the first of a five-part series.

I’m
spending this week compiling and producing a series of tributes to No.
15, including one of my own using interviews from Munson’s teammates
and associates, which will run on Sunday, August 2, while at the same
time keeping tabs on a Yankees team that’s 10-1 since the All-Star
break and 23-6 in its last 29 games. Not only do the Yankees have a
chance to bury the Rays, with a little help they can put some distance
between them and the Red Sox before their showdown at Yankee Stadium
next week. The Red Sox trail the Yankees by 2 1/2 games in the AL East
and have already made two deals before Friday’s non-waiver trade
deadline.

You wonder if, as well as the Yankees are playing,
whether they’ll make a move be it minor or a blockbuster, maybe not fix
what’s not broken, or perhaps do something in response to what the Red
Sox end up doing. In this time of trade talk, believe everything you
see and half of what you read, but the latest rumors in Beantown is the
cultivation of a mega-deal that would import both Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez from Cleveland.

Late
yesterday, word circulated that the Yankees were interested in
acquiring veteran right-hander Bronson Arroyo from the Reds provided
that the Reds pay the bulk of the $17 million he’s owed by the end of
2010. A baseball source told the New York Daily News there’s
nothing to that. You figure that the Yankees would not invest any
serious dollars into what would amount to their fifth starter, since
Sergio Mitre has fit the job description through two starts. But if the
Reds were willing to eat Arroyo’s salary – I seriously doubt it –
Arroyo would be a nice addition, a battle-tested vet who’s pitched in
big games (see ALCS, 2004).

Furthermore, if Arroyo would become a Yankee, Alex Rodriguez would have to learn his first name. It’s not Brandon.

Another
name being floated is Ian Snell, though Snell is a big if. The
27-year-old right-hander is 2-8 with a 5.36 ERA for the Pirates, who
appear willing to give him away if a team would take on his guaranteed
$4.25-million salary for next season. The Daily News added that
any sort of deal for Snell is possible given that the Yankees and
Pirates have worked out trades for Xavier Nady, Damaso Marte and Eric
Hinske. If that happens, you’d think it’d cost the Yankees
next-to-nothing in prospects, only $4.25 million to bet on the
change-of-scenery theory.

Steven Goldman encouraged the Yankees to deal for Snell last week, citing the best is yet to come from the right-hander.

Yanks shoot for sixth straight win

By Jon Lane
A beautiful Wednesday morning here at Yankee
Stadium for the finale of the Yankees’ three-game set against the
Orioles. It’s A.J. Burnett on the bump for New York, which took over
sole possession of first place in the AL East last night for the first
time since June 8. Since Alex Rodriguez returned from the disabled list
one month earlier, the Yankees are 43-22, the best record in baseball.

Burnett
is 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA over his last four starts. According to STATS
Inc. he’s 8-1 with a 4.83 ERA in 10 career starts against the Orioles.
It was on April 9 in Baltimore when Burnett made his Yankees debut by
allowing two runs over 5 1/3 innings to earn an 11-2 win.

I’ll be back later with lineups and assorted team news, along with details of today’s installment of HOPE Week.
Yesterday, Alex Rodriguez, Joba Chamberlain, Andy Pettitte and Kevin
Long met a couple of inspirational people. Tom Ellenson is a Little
Leaguer with cerebral palsy. His father, Richard, created a device that
allows non-verbal individuals like his son to more easily communicate.
Tom and his friends from his Little League team were treated to lunch
at Out of the Kitchen in Greenwich Village before he and other children
with cerebral palsy participated in a rally and baseball clinic. The
photo below was provided by the Yankees.

hope_275.jpg12:58 p.m.
I
spent some time before the game in the Billy Martin suite covering
today’s HOPE Week event: the powerful story of George Murray, a
terminally ill ALS patient who to their surprise were welcomed by a
large contingent of family and friends – as well as Derek Jeter, Phil
Hughes, Brian Bruney, Hideki Matsui, Phil Coke, Cody Ransom and Mark
Teixeira.

George and his family were just shown on the Diamond
Vision, his 4-year-old son, Trason, sitting on his lap. Coke is on the
field behind home plate greeting George, Trason and Kim. This feature
will run on YESNetwork.com this afternoon.

1:27 p.m.
Some notes from Joe Girardi’s pregame press conference:

?
He’s not schizo like Oliver Perez, but when A.J. Burnett pitches he
either walks the earth or is electric, in other words he’s either feast
or famine. Girardi was asked what impresses him more, when Burnett is
completely dominant or if he has to gut it out.

In his last start on Friday, Burnett allowed three runs and six hits
with five walks in six innings, starting 15 of 27 batters with balls
and throwing 57 of 104 pitches for strikes. The start prior, Burnett,
walked four gave up seven hits and threw three wild pitches while only
striking out two in a 4-3 in over the Twins. 

“I think it’s more impressive when a guy has to gut his way through,
because sometimes the have to be more creative and they can’t just rely
on their stuff solely to get people out,” Girardi said. “You’re going to
get in some jams and have to figure out a way to get out of them.” 

Burnett
worked swiftly through the first inning, allowing only a one-out hit
while throwing eight pitches and earning the final two outs tossing
just two.

? Through one turn anyway, Joba Chamberlain, Andy
Pettite and Sergio Mitre assuaged concerns over the back end of the
Yankees’ rotation after Burnett and CC Sabathia.

“When everyone is doing their job, it takes a little bit of pressure
off the other starters in the sense of I have to win today,” Girardi
said. “By everyone doing their job, they’re able to concentrate more on
what they have to do that day.”

? Girardi appears a lot more relaxed and settled into his job compared to last year, but he mainains his demeanor is the same.

“I
think I’m pretty much the same guy I think I’ve learned a lot on how to
handle situations better, so I might appear to be a little looser. I’m
an intense guy who’s going to laugh and going to have fun, but there’s
an intensity in there.”

1:32 p.m.
Yankees blast rookie Jason Berken for four runs on six hits in the first, very encouraging considering their track record against pitchers they face for the first time. Berken has lasted past the fifth inning just once in his last five outings, going 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in that span.  

1:36 p.m.
WEEI.com reports the Red Sox have acquired Adam LaRoche from the Pirates for two prospects. Adam’s brother, Andy, was part of last year’s three-team blockbuster that sent Jason Bay to Boston and Manny Ramirez to the L.A. Dodgers.

2:03 p.m.
From goat to hero: Nick Swisher pulls a Luis Castillo to start the third inning and a Willie Mays to end it.

2:47 p.m.
I’m back after filing my feature on George Murray and HOPE Week. Swisher with a leaping catch against the wall in right. When did he turn into Ichiro?

3:07 p.m.
Phil Hughes warming up with two out in the seventh inning of a 5-0 Yankees lead against a bad team. Why not give Mark Melancon some work? He’s probably here for only another week until Damaso Marte returns.

3:11 p.m.
5-2 Yankees. I’d bring him in now.

3:57 p.m.
Just when you think you’re in the clear, Brian Bruney gives up back-to-back jacks to Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. So effective early in the season, Bruney has completely lost it since coming off the disabled list for the second time. To protect what’s now a 6-4 lead, Joe Girardi was forced to summon Mariano Rivera, who benefits from any time off he receives.

5:05 p.m.
To cut Bruney some slack, today was his first appearance since July 10. And despite the back-to-back gopher balls Joe Girardi said it was the best stuff he’s seen from the struggling right-hander since he was activated from the DL June 17. Girardi added he’d make it a point to offer those words of encouragement, though Bruney went on to imply that he’s never been one who needs a pat on the back.

Nevertheless, Bruney, like Girardi, looked beyond the numbers. He’s been on the DL twice this season with muscle and elbow strains because he tried gutting it out instead of telling anyone. The layoff may have affected him to a certain extent, but today he felt life in his arm again.

“It feels like a long time since I felt pretty good,” Bruney said. “It’s not an issue of I’ve been healthy or not healthy. It’s just as a pitcher your arm feels a certain way and you can just tell the way your arm feels, and it just hadn’t felt right. I felt like I commanded the ball pretty well minus two pitches.”

Phil Hughes continues to be a revelation out of the bullpen. The right-hander tossed another scoreless inning, has not allowed a run in his last 14 outings and his current 20-inning scoreless stretch, dating back to June 10 at Boston, is the longest by a Yankees reliever since Mariano Rivera in 2005 (23), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. I chatted with Hughes, who owns a 0.81 ERA in 16 appearances, exclusively after the game and will have more on his story tomorrow.

Yankees on TODAY

Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were on NBC’s TODAY Show this morning promoting HOPE Week. Check out the video here:

http://www.hulu.com/myspace/http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ehulu%2Ecom%2F/embed/yo9jmIhkLN54m7SDItPL_Q

Back to work

By Jon Lane
The Yankees begin the second half of their season tonight at Yankee Stadium, where A.J. Burnett takes the ball against Luke French and the Detroit Tigers (YES HD, 7 p.m.). There are storylines aplenty entering the summer’s dog days, including Burnett, writes Peter Abraham. The right-hander posted a 1.77 ERA in winning his last three starts and is 4-1 with a 1.34 ERA in his past five. For all the talk of CC Sabathia’s importance, and it’s legit, Burnett must continue to show that he’s peaked and is capable of carrying a team.

A few other random thoughts as we gear up for the weekend, which includes Old Timer’s Day on Sunday. I’ll be on-site with lots of blogging and storytelling.

The Yankees hope to emerge from a four-day break recharged after a three-game sweep in Anaheim, where they allowed 29 runs to the Angels that wiped out an eight-game road winning streak. The Tigers (48-39) are a good team in the mold that’s given the Yankees fits. Against the first-place teams they’ve played in 2009, New York’s record is 5-15. Tonight and the weekend is the first of many statement games and series. This is the time of year where business gradually begins to pick up and the next couple of weeks could determine whether the Yankees will be major players at the trade deadline. Those reports you’ve been seeing on how they won’t be pursuing Roy Halladay? Take them with a grain of salt. Brian Cashman loves to fly stealth.

Speaking of Doc, like with any great debate, there are those who want him in pinstripes at any cost, others at only the right price and those who think it’s crazy for Cashman to gut a farm system he so painstakingly rebuilt. Steven Goldman’s message to the Yankees: Don’t do it. As Newsday‘s Anthony Rieber wrote yesterday, the Yankees can and must take on Vernon Wells’ bloated contract to make this happen while preserving the system. But as one fan points out, Plan B — a Brian Bannister or Paul Maholm — is the best route. What do you think?

Alex Rodriguez is once again generating attention, except this time it’s been confined strictly to the baseball diamond, and that’s a good thing. Over his last 17 games, A-Rod is batting .373 (22 for 59) with eight home runs and 22 RBIs. His first game was May 8, yet Rodriguez ranks second on the team in homers (17) and tied for second in RBIs (50), and the Yankees are a league-best 38-22 since his return.

Still, there’s something about the Yankees’ performance against the Red Sox that gnaws at you. Oh, that 0-8 record. And if there’s enough to worry about coming from Boston, beware of the Rays, writes Goldman.

Check back on YESNetwork.com for lineups and updates from the Stadium. And be sure to read about HOPE Week a program designed to promote five remarkable stories and inspire others into action.

Yankees at the break

By Jon Lane
The Good: The Yankees are 14 games over .500. They are three behind the Red Sox in the American League East and lead the Wild Card by two-and-a-half games over the Rangers. Expectations in this city, for this team, are often ridiculous, which Chris Shearn pointed out this morning, and perceptions change more often than toll collectors during rush hour. For the most part there’s been a vibe about this team we haven’t seen in years, and that includes the later Joe Torre teams that made the playoffs. Furthermore, the Yankees are much better than last season. That is indisputable.

The Yankees have received better-than-expected contributions from Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera. The duo is batting a combined .283 with 11 homers, 53 RBI and 23 stolen bases, lest we forget Gardner’s mad – and inspirational – inside-the-park home run and Cabrera’s .375/2/14 in close-or-late situations (of his 34 RBIs, 12 have either tied or put the Yankees ahead after the seventh inning). The Yankees had a deal in place to send Cabrera to Milwaukee for Mike Cameron and a one-year stop-gap in center, and Cameron is .258/14/42/4. With Gardner, Cabrera and Eric Hinske playing well, the Yankees have outfield depth and absolutely no reason to rush Austin Jackson.

Hinske has three home runs in 12 at-bats with the Yankees, two more than he hit in 106 at-bats with the Pirates before he was acquired in a trade on June 30.

Phil Hughes in relief: 18.1 innings, seven hits, two runs, five walks, 19 Ks. He has solved the Yankees’ eighth-inning problem; a bullpen operates at peak performances when each reliever knows and excels in his given role. Here’s hoping this is a warm-up to many great years as a starting pitcher. And Hughes will be a starter. You don’t groom promising and electric young arms to be eighth-inning or middle relievers their whole careers. Look at Johan Santana.

Playing in likely his final season in New York, Hideki Matsui is 12 of his last 30 with four homers and 12 RBI. He’s .265-14-40 in 234 at-bats (78 games) as a full-time DH. Not bad for a veteran of both Japan and the Major Leagues now playing on shot knees.

Playing in the second of a 10-year, $275-million contract, Alex Rodriguez is 22 of his last 59 (.373) with eight homers, 22 RBI and 17 runs scored and batting.256. Not bad for someone whose game is back in form after missing the season’s first month recovering from hip surgery and with a second one awaiting him this winter.

The not-so-good: The Yankees’ 51-37 record is impressive. The fact that they’re 2-9 against the Red Sox and Angels is alarming. Any visions of a 27th World Championship will go through Anaheim and Boston. If the season ended today, the Yankees would play the Angels in a five-game series with at most three in Southern California.

Since 2004, the Yankees are 18-33 against the Angels overall and 7-18 at Angels Stadium. And guess what? They play the Red Sox and Angels 13 more times between now and the end of the season, including a return trip to Anaheim September 21-23, and after an off day, a three-game set at Yankee Stadium September 25-27 that may decide the AL East – and if the Rays have any say, possibly the playoff fate of either the Yankees or Red Sox.

Andy Pettitte is 8-5 with a 4.85 ERA, yet in his last four starts is 1-2 with a 10.38 ERA. He’s shown flashes of the old Pettitte, but you wonder more and more how much he has left.

Joba Chamberlain is 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA, but he’s had a no-decision in 11 of 17 starts and is off three straight  in which he’s allowed nine hits or more. He’s pitched into the seventh inning once since June 7 and a combined eight over his last two. For the past couple of weeks the back-end of the Yankees rotation has been unreliable while Chien-Ming Wang’s potentially lost season leaves a gaping hole. Will the Yankees be compelled to go all-in for Roy Halladay?

In between: CC Sabathia is 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .218 batting average since May and A-Rod’s return. Overall, though, he’s 8-6, 3.86. With a great seven-inning effort at Minnesota in between, here are Sabathia’s two other pitching lines this month:

July 2 vs. Seattle: 5 2/3 IP, 10 H, six R, three BB, eight K, one HR (loss)
July 12 at L.A. Angels: 6 2/3 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 3 BB, six K (loss)

“So, so,” Sabathia said of his first 19 starts after Sunday’s game. “I was in a pretty good slot for a while, but I need to do better.”

Sabathia’s been a strong second-half pitcher his whole career (3.39 ERA/1.21 WHIP/.243 BAA compared to 3.89/1.26/.249). It’s one reason the Yankees spent big money to get him and they’ll be hoping for another yeoman effort, especially if not even a serviceable fifth starter can be had at the trade deadline.

Schilling speaks out, A-Rod busting out

By Jon Lane
Never at a loss for words, the recently retired Curt Schilling spoke out against steroid users this week on Sirius XM’s “Mad Dog Unleashed.” Here are excerpts of the transcript passed on by SIRIUS XM:

Chris Russo: “If you had a vote, if you were a writer, Curt, would you put A-Rod, [Roger] Clemens, [Barry] Bonds in the Hall of Fame?”

Schilling: “No, none of them.”

Russo: “Really?  Nobody?  How about A-Rod who’s got nine years left to recover and do a decent job?”

Schilling: “No.  No.”

Russo: “Manny [Ramirez]?”

Schilling: “No, no, none of them.”

Russo: “Do you think it takes away a little bit from the Red Sox’ championship in ’04?”

Schilling: “Listen, if you’re going to be one of those guys who thinks there is a team in the last 15 years that has played with 25 clean guys for 162 games, you’re lying to yourself.”

The Hall of Fame merits of Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod and Ramirez will be debated endlessly. I choose to react to this by staying in the now. A-Rod and Ramirez were caught and fessed up, and everyone has moved on. Ramirez returns to the Dodgers and “Mannywood” tomorrow, while Rodriguez continued his awesome run over the past week in Wednesday’s win over the Mariners.

Creative analogy from Peter Abraham: “Alex has pulled a Hulk Hogan in the last seven games. He was down and
out, sprawled on the canvas with the referee about to count to three. Then, suddenly, he was up and now the American League is about to get thrown around the ring before A-Rod drops the leg on them.”

Incidentally, Hogan admitted to using steroids in court, but that wasn’t the intent of the comparison. Those who followed WWE (nee the WWF) in the 1980s remember Hogan’s gimmick all too well. Neither 450-pound men jumping on his prone body nor the dreaded sleeper hold would defeat the Hulkster. He’d kick out, rise to his knees, and feeding off his frenzied “Hulkamanics” was suddenly impervious to pain. He’d take a few punches, point as his doomed opponent, connect with a few of his own, toss him against the ropes, land a big boot to the face, and drop the leg for the 1-2-3.

Those were the days …

Seriously, Rodriguez has been unbelievable since those two days of rest. One June 24 in Atlanta, after his frst two at-bats, A-Rod was in a 1-for-27 rut and batting .204, and pundits were quick to pounce on the angle that at age 33 (he turns 34 later this month) he was in a sudden decline.

Just like that, Rodriguez is 10 for his last 21 with four homers and 13 RBIs, spearheading the Yankees’ current seven-game winning streak. His mere presence in the lineup alone kick-started the Yankees. His production is taking them to new heights.

Did A-Rod do the right thing?

By Glenn Giangrande

arod275_062309.jpg

I don’t care what the numbers say. I firmly believe Alex Rodriguez should have underwent his major hip surgery the first time around.

People, who would argue in favor of A-Rod’s decision to have a first, “less invasive” procedure ahead of another operation after the season, would probably start with a couple of factors — the Yankees’ performance when he first returned to the lineup and the positive effects he had on Mark Teixeira, whom he was batting behind. Well, the Yankees have reverted to the scuffling form they showed in April, going 4-8 over their last 12 games heading into Tuesday’s game in Atlanta. They would be 3-9 if not for Luis Castillo’s game-ending error in the first game of the Subway Series on June 12, and save for a couple of big games versus the Mets in that stretch, their offensive numbers are down sharply. As for Teixeira, he has said that A-Rod’s presence has been a big help, but let’s be honest. Big Tex was eventually going to start hitting regardless of who’s batting behind him, even if the caliber of pitches he’d see would be down. He’s a known slumper in April, so who’s to say he wouldn’t have turned it around even without Rodriguez? It’s unfair to assume that A-Rod was the sole answer to Teixeira’s early-season woes.

Now the Yankees are being forced to give A-Rod steady rest, and he’s started to become a distraction again, albeit a mild one. Players with tired bodies should not be out on the town until 2:30 a.m., regardless of how famous they and their company might be. There were rumors about the possibility of Rodriguez’ two-game sitdown in Florida being some sort of punishment, and the conference call in which he was told that he’s “hurting the team.” There’s plenty of time for the superstar to get himself right, and as Michael Kay has pointed out on the YES broadcasts, A-Rod’s timeline is comparable to that of a Major Leaguer just coming out of Spring Training. But, with the prospect of another surgery looming, Rodriguez could wind up doing worse damage to his hip by playing, hurting himself and the Yankees in the process.

The Pulse of New York

Every Tuesday, YES Blog takes the pulse of New York on the hottest
topics being talked about right now in the world of sports. What’s your
take on the below issues?

How many times will the Yankees beat the Red Sox this season?(opinion)

Who do you support in the Brian Bruney/Francisco Rodriguez incident?(polling)

Should Brad Penny be suspended for hitting Alex Rodriguez?(answers)

How many games will the Yankees win in their upcoming series against the Nationals?(trends)

Which YES Network talent blog is your favorite?(online surveys)

If Chien-Ming Wang has a poor outing tomorrow should he remain in the rotation?(poll)

There has been much speculation about Johan Santana’s poor outing against the Yankees. How do you explain it?(survey software)

Will Plaxico Burress play this upcoming NFL season?(surveys)

The morning after

By Jon Lane
Or in my case hours later. Thanks to mad traffic getting out of the Bronx  – even 45 minutes after Alex Rodriguez’s pop fly shockingly bounced off the heel of Luis Castillo’s glove – and an incident on the Long Island Rail Road, I walked into my door after 3 a.m.

Friday night came down to this: The Yankees did not deserve to win. Five pitchers combined to walk nine batters, Mariano Rivera inexplicably continued to not get it done in tie games and A-Rod was a routine catch from again being vilified for failing to deliver in the clutch.

Then Castillo dropped the ball and Mark Teixeira – running hard from first base, in other words doing what he’s supposed to do but more and more players refuse to do – raced home with the winning run. But considering the Yankees’ performance in Boston and against the Mets, in this case it was better to be lucky than good. To quote Derek Jeter, “We feel like we stole one.”

“It’s hard to believe, because we tried to give the game away all night, and they took advantage of all the mistakes that we made,” said Joe Girardi. “And in the end, we got the big gift. “I understand that we kind of got a gift tonight. And you can’t pitch like that and expect to win.”

As for the Mets, Jerry Manuel refused to ostracize Castillo – so much for him throwing his players under the bus – while angry fans lit up sports talk radio demanding that Castillo, in the midst of a bounce-back season, be immediately released. An old cliche in baseball is that momentum is as good as the next day’s starting pitcher and if the Mets take the next two games less people will be talking about Castillo and more about the Yankees’ June swoon.

But remember, the Mets choked away the NL East two years in a row, falling short of a playoff spot by one game both times. They can’t look at Friday and say, “It’s one game and it’s early.”

“We’ve had three games this week where we should have had three wins over rivals and we came up short,” said Manuel, citing other blown chances the prior two nights against  the Phillies. “This is going to be a good test for us.”

And a bigger one for Castillo’s psyche. After the game he was alone in the clubhouse at his locker, elbows on knees and eyes reddening. The lone consolation is that the Mets don’t return to Citi Field until June 19. It’s up to he and the Mets to give their angry and jaded fan base something a lot more positive, or slightly less negative, to discuss.

Rivals go at it again

By Jon Lane
Not since 1974 have the Red Sox won six straight
games against the Yankees in one season, when they ran off seven
consecutive victories over their rivals. At that time the rivalry was
simmering before exploding later that decade. Dating back to 2003, this
has been at another level, and another chapter will be written starting
tonight. You can catch the game on My9, and tune into YES for complete
pre and postgame coverage starting with Yankees Batting Practice Today at 6 p.m.

Here’s where the teams stand:

  • The
    Yankees are in the AL East penthouse, one game ahead of the Red Sox,
    and are a much different team than the one that dropped five straight
    to them in the early going. Alex Rodriguez has since returned to the
    lineup and New York has been on a 21-8 run. A-Rod may be batting .248,
    but has eight home runs in 29 at-bats. More important is that his mere
    presence alone has had a major impact Mark Teixeira, who is is batting
    .364 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs hitting ahead of A-Rod in the lineup.
    Teixeira, incidentally, now leads AL first baseman in All-Star voting.

  • Yankees
    starters are 12-2 in their last 24 games while limiting opponents to
    three earned runs or fewer in 18 of 25 starts. Leading the way is CC
    Sabathia, who has pitched at least eight innings in six of his last
    eight starts (4-1, two no-decisions). The burly lefty starts Thursday
    night against Brad Penny.

  • Big start tonight for A.J. Burnett,
    4-2 with a 4.69 ERA and seeking his third straight win after going
    winless since April 14. Burnett leads the Yankees with 65 strikeouts
    and is seeking redemption both team-oriented and personal. His last
    time pitching at Fenway Park, Burnett blew a 6-0 lead on April 25,
    allowing eight runs on eight hits in five innings of a 16-11 loss.

“We owe them a couple,” Burnett said.

  • Bigger
    start for Chien-Ming Wang Wednesday night. Everyone is well aware of
    Wang’s early-season troubles and terrible track record at Fenway (3-3,
    5.11 ERA in seven starts). Wang returned to the rotation last week and
    while he was far from great, it was something to build on
    considering what he’s had to endure. However, you’d think his leash
    will be short. Many are speculating (including me) that Phil Hughes
    will be summoned almost immediately if Wang digs himself a hole.

  • As
    you also know, David Ortiz is in the throes of an awful season. Big
    Papi, who’s made his living killing the Yankees and rivaling Tom Brady
    and Adam Vinatieri as Boston’s greatest clutch performer, is batting
    .197 with two homers and 22 RBIs in 51 games. He visited an eye doctor
    on Monday and his vision checked out well, which has left the Back Bay
    mystified as to what has happened to him. Leave to Red Sox Nation to
    panic. A few callers phoned into WEEI-AM saying he “stinks” and needs
    to be relegated to part-time duty. Good line from Dale & Holley
    though in response to Joe Girardi’s complaint about the Yankees playing
    nine straight games in National League cities: The Red Sox played 50
    games without a DH, the Yankees can play nine.” Ouch.