Pitching Preview: Yankees AJ Burnett vs. Orioles Chris Tillman
Up Next the Yankees will host the first place Baltimore Orioles (no that is not a typo) for a three game set in the Bronx.
AJ Burnett will face Orioles youngster Chris Tillman, so let’s break down this match-up between these AL East leading teams.
Burnett will take the bump for the Bombers, looking for this third win on the season. Burnett has always been nerve-racking to watch, even before his dreadful 2010 numbers. Burnett worked hard to fix himself in the off-season and so far it has paid off.
Some of the credit easily goes to Yankees new pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who seems to have earned the pitcher’s trust from the start and is a perfect fit in the Bronx.
So, am I worried about Burnett?
Actually, I feel good about Burnett but he can’t win if the Yankee bats don’t hit again.
In Sunday’s embarrassment, the team was sans A-rod who statistically has proven to be the nucleus of the Bomber’s line-up. When A-rod was on the DL the bats were dormant. Ironically, it was against the O’s in 2010 when A-rod hit a first pitch bomb and it was a rising from the dead, as everyone started hitting again.
Is A-rod still sick?
Well, when I saw Mr. Rodriguez on Monday afternoon with Ms. Diaz drinking lattes in mid-town he looked fine, so hopefully he is playing.
The rest of the Yankee brass need to join A-rod and Cano at the party, who along with new additions, Russell Martin, Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones have saved the ball club from absolute embarrassment.
To sum-it-up…. whatever Jeter is doing isn’t working; Tex is back in April; Gardner in the lead-off is not working out that well; Swisher needs to start to swish the ball out of the park; and Posada is still adjusting to his new role, which is the DH in case he forgot.
Burnett has to keep his eye on O’s Brian Roberts, who in 50 career at-bats against Burnett has three double, three homers, 10 RBIs and 15 hits total. Also, Felix Pie and Adam Jones tend to either hit Burnett or strikeout, pending on which AJ is throwing. Well, now it’s the new AJ so I think he will win these battles.
O’s skipper Buck Showalter is sending 22-year-old Chris Tillman to the mound. Tillman shined brightly down in the minors, but the transition has not been easy and 2011 has not been any better.
If Tillman doesn’t improve his walk to strikeout ratio and work on cutting his straight fastball more, it will be a short life in the bigs. Tillman needs to give Showalter a reason to keep him around once Justin Duchscherer is healthy and beating the Yankees in the Bronx would certainly help.
Usually this would be a serious concern, as the Yankees have a history of getting flanked by young pitchers that they haven’t seen or maybe faced once or twice with no success.
Well, Tillman and the Yankees have barely faced each other, but during that minimal time the Yankees have hit the crap out of Tillman.
In Cano’s seven at-bats against Tillman, he has six hits, two RBIs and a walk but his on-base percentage sits at .875 and his batting average stands at .857. Tillman has met Jeter, A-rod and Tex for a combined 18 at-bats, where together the Yankees trio has eight hits; one homer, four RBIs and all have matching .500 on-base percentages.
Though the data is limited, the fact that Tillman didn’t dominate the Yankees the first few times they met is not going to help his cause, especially at Yankees Stadium and following a Sunday Bloody Sunday.
Yankees beat the Orioles 8-2.