Reference post here, though not written by Craig, just happens to be the topic I picked up (besides, the article refers to posts by Craig so…)
It was quite placid in the Lair as Craig reviewed the morning reel of A.J.’s performance. The Blue Danube was playing in the background along with the slow motion scenes of Burnett’s pitches. In the first scene Craig saw him throw a fastball as it fell gracefully… for ball four. Not the way you wanted to start a game, but it did get better as the night wore on. In the beginning it seemed that A.J. would have a typical A.J. disaster of a game but he somehow got the outs, or rather his team-mates bailed him out consistently.
Another graceful ball from A.J…. and Santiago puts wood on it… as he bunt popped it into the air… the ball sailed… A.J. looking at it, Martin looking at it, Ramon looking at it, EVERYONE following the trajectory as if in a tennis match… and there was A-Rod with an intense face of concentration charging the bunt… and the scene shifted as the ball fell towards the earth from multiple angles and Alex neatly caught it in his glove for the out…
Truly remarkable, at times effective but very wobbly, these scenes would continue for quite a while. Low sinker… ball four… inside fastball… strike three… One out, two outs, three outs. Inning after inning… Sinker… ground ball, Jeter fields it… out at first… Fastball… hit… double off the wall… really it seems the guy was teetering on the edge of disaster for 5 innings.
Then came Victor Martinez… fastball… wood on the ball… ball sailed up… and up… Martin looks up, A.J. looks up, Victor looks up… Swisher looked up and didn’t bother to go after it as the ball fell into the stands… among dozens of cheering fans… jumping up and down… waving silly rally towels…
But it didn’t matter, the Yankees would prevail eventually 10 to 1 and the Danube played on… Craig looked to his right on his side table. The A.J. Burnett bobble-head had a tag reading: I saved the Yankees! Craig looked at the figure putting his pipe in his mouth puffing a few bubbles. He merely replied: “You keep thinking that A.J. Hold on to that thought and cherish it.”
It wasn’t pretty but A.J. got the job done! Lots of news items regarding what type of A.J. the Yankees would see pitch in the postseason. Although to be honest if A.J. had totally bombed and allowed 4 or 5 runs the result might of been the same considering the big 6 run inning the Yankees produced late in the game. On the other hand who knows how the momentum would have shifted without A.J putting up those zeroes. It can be inspirational. I’m sure A-Rod thought: “Hey if A.J. can have a fine pitching performance I’m pretty sure I can hit too!” Naaaaah.
The only close games yesterday were Rangers-Rays 4-3 and Phillies-Cardinals 3-2. The Phillies bullpen bent but didn’t break. They surrendered two runs in three innings of relief work. Madson continues to shine, Lidge was Ledge and this will happen from time to time, I guess his meltdown stat just increased, I would have left in Bastardo, after all, he already got some tips from Danys Baez on his mechanics. Seriously, that’s not the first time we hear of Danys Baez correcting other pitcher’s problems, he helped David Herndon and the man went for something like 5 straight lights out appearances… Where is Rich Dubee when these things happen? They need to re-hire Baez as a pitching consultant, deputy pitching coach.
The Ranges finished off the Rays. Well, there went one feel-good story. But really it seems the Rangers are the most complete team in the post-season. The bullpen is deep, great offense. Godd starting pitching… even if some starters seem wobbly as of late, but no biggy. Whoever prevails between Yankees and Tigers will find the Rangers a very uphill climb.