Thursday, October 22, 2009

AJ's collapse not a surprise

I wish I could say AJ Burnett's first-inning meltdown was a surprise, but in truth, I had been expecting it for a while. You can't walk or hit that many batters without it coming back to bite you. He obviously had nothing early on, but he rebounded well in the next few innings and kept the Yanks in the game until losing it again in the 7th inning.

What was more disturbing was the regression of the Yankees offense, that one huge inning aside. I was feeling pretty good after Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon got on to start the game. But then Mark Teixeira struck out, Alex Rodriguez popped out and Matsui weakly grounded out. I thought Joe Girardi was going to make the right move and DH Jorge Posada. He went with Matsui because he has more experience DHing, but you can't let that be the deciding factor when a hitter is swinging the bat that poorly.

Home run aside, Nick Swisher continues to struggle. He had a chance to erase all the bad karma from the previous 7 playoff games with one good swing or even a walk in the 9th inning and he couldn't come through.

The postseason struggles of Phil Hughes are really surprising. He was so dominant as Mariano Rivera's set-up man in the regular season, but he struggled in the division series and he looked awful tonight. Joba Chamberlain is having a hard time in the playoffs too, although that's less surprising because the Yankees completely screwed with his head in the regular season. Again, they had to bring in Mo to keep from falling further behind and that shouldn't be happening.

Best I can say for the Yankees is that they're coming home to Yankee Stadium for two games with Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia scheduled to start. But they will have to hear about the 2004 ALCS collapse for the next two days. I hope the doubt doesn't start to creep into their heads.

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