Where Has This AJ Been Hiding?

September 1st, 2011 by Jane Heller

Apparently, he and Larry Rothschild worked on a slight change in mechanics since the last start – and the result was a very good performance tonight in Boston. Why didn’t they come up with this change in, say, July? Don’t ask me. All I know is that he was impressive and deserved some run support. My guess is he’ll stay in the rotation and Hughes will go to the pen.

Tonight’s marathon (it felt like 10 hours) was really two games.

Game 1, in which the Red Sox led 2-1, was an exercise in futility as the Yanks kept leaving men on base – again.

Game 2, in which we went ahead 4-2, was a thrill ride that nearly gave me a nervous breakdown. Great defensive plays by Granderson, Gardner and Tex. Great relief pitching by Logan, Wade, Soriano and Robertson. Great at bats by Jones, Martin and Chavez. Great but nail biting ninth by Mo. Not a great debut by Montero, but he did score a run. Great winning this series. Whew.

What wasn’t great was watching Tex get hit on the knee – by old friend Aceves yet. I’m relieved the injury wasn’t more serious, but with A-Rod out we really didn’t need another bat going AWOL. Hopefully, “day to day” means “any day” in his case.

And now I’m going to bed. Who can stay up for these ridiculously long contests? Or am I just old and cranky?

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17 Responses to “Where Has This AJ Been Hiding?”

  1. Leo says:

    For a rookie, Montero did okay. Yeah he didn’t get any hits but he had some good at bats. He just had the unfortunate luck of being up with runners on and 2 outs. He did hit the ball hard at a couple of his at bats. It’s hard to ask a rookie to do something against Lester who’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. It’s too small of a sample size to get too disappointed by it. I have a feeling that he may need to adjust until he gets into a real groove, just like when he first got to AAA. I look forward to seeing more from him. I also look forward to seeing AJ with these new mechanics. I hope it isn’t a fluke. He did very well other than that one mistake he threw to Pedoria. I didn’t like all the RISP issues when the offense did a very good job in wearing down Lester and getting his pitch count up but I won’t harp on it too much because we did end up winning. Just slightly disappointing because we could’ve won more convincingly. A series win against the Red Sox feels soooo good though. I hope everyone can now sleep peacefully like a baby! We can also laugh at that boneheaded move by Swish to bunt in that inning as well.

  2. Ruth says:

    Aloha everyone: I caught the game! Starting in the 4th inning, when we were up 1-0. I tried to get a picture of the bar on Ali’i Drive where we watched the game. Wanted to get the game on TV with the beautiful ocean in the background, but couldn’t pull it off. It says a lot that I spent 3.5 hours in a bar to watch a game. I am not a drinker, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. So, tell me, since I couldn’t hear the game, what was the issue with Swishie bunting there? Was it because he bunted with a guy on second and 1 out? So he obviously made the decision on his own? I hated not being able to hear the game, but I loved the result! Did it have to be so damn stressful, though?! I shouldn’t have to be so stressed on vacation. Melissa, if you’re here, we’re on the Big Island….what is your favorite island?

  3. YankeeCase says:

    Wow, you almost had to know AJ would do something like this. I mean it was either something along these lines, or a 17 run fiasco in 1 2/3 innings. Hopefully we get to see more of this Good AJ and leave the bad one behind. God only knows we could use a consistently good AJ Burnett.

    The bullpen did a hell of a job. Even Cory Wade this time around, lol! Jane, ever since you mentioned your unease with his appearances, I’ve noticed a slight down trend. I definitely see what you mean. It took a great play by Granderson to avoid a mess in the sixth. Hopefully he picks back up soon. If not, Hughes’ almost definite return to the ‘pen will squeeze him out of the main bullpen rotation. Mariano did make things interesting there at the end though, didn’t he?

    I would’ve loved to see Montero get that first major league hit in Fenway in the top of the first with the bases loaded. What an introduction for someone who should hopefully (i’ve said that word way too many times already…) be our next great hitting catcher. And someone who more likely than not will be a thorn in the side of many Boston fans for years to come. But, we’ll have to wait for this next series at home. He’ll have the Yankee fans to cheer him when he does get that first one out of the way. I’m looking forward to what this kid will do with his career. (‘kid!’ i’m about nine years older. ay-yi-yi!)

    And for all the talk about how Boston was going to run away with this division, how their mighty lineup and their great rotation would make a mockery of the AL East, how the Yankees were going to be this laughable underdog, lucky to get the Wild Card scraps, and here we are on Sept. 1 (err, umm the 2nd…), and the Yankees are only 1/2 a game back. Baseball is so very interesting, isn’t it? :D I say let’s go get our division back…

    Hope all is well, Jane and fellow fans. Your trip is almost over, if I remember correctly, Jane. I’m sure it’s been… memorable. Earthquakes, and Grand Slams, and Hurricanes, oh my! (next time you come to Yankee Stadium, let’s try for four grand slams in a game, ok? by the Yanks of course…) But before you leave the East Coast and head back to the land of beach babes, earthquakes, and In-and-Out burgers, I see the Yanks taking that number one AL East spot shortly before takeoff. Hanging on to it will be fun. If you consider nervous breakdowns, gut churning moments, and chewed up fingernails fun that is. !O_o!

    http://yankeecase.mlblogs.com/

  4. Audrey says:

    Well, even though I said I wasn’t going to watch, I did, of course (you didn’t really believe that, did you?) and I’m glad I did. AJ reminded of the old post-season AJ from 2009 and though I’m sorry he didn’t get the win he deserved, I’m also glad he didn’t get a loss. Props to the New AJ – long may he live!

    Perhaps the best thing about this series, other than that the Yankees won it, is that it is over and I no longer have to watch NESN. As I’ve said before, the announcers aren’t too bad (though they do seem to show some bias when it comes to balls and strikes – the ones in the Red Sox favor always seem to be able to go either way while the same pitch to a Yankee is definitely a strike) but the commercials are just beyond my ability to endure. Latest examnple – An older man with a pigeon coop lets a few of his birds loose. Soon they are flying all over the city pooping on anyone wearing Yankees shirts or caps, reading the Daily News with a Yankee story on the cover, etc. Then they fly back and we see their keeper wearing a Red Sox shirt and a ****eating grin and it says something like “Red Sox fans – for life.” Now I don’t, unfortunately, get the YES network but I cannot imagine something like that being broadcast. My sister just vacationed in Boston and commented on all the Yankee trashing she witnessed (she’s not a fan so wasn’t exacty looking for it) yet I was at Yankee Stadium and don’t remember seeing any references to Boston. Their inferiority complex is just sad.

    My husband and I came up with a great counter to that ad, though. His favorite hobby is shooting clay pigeons so, of course, his mind went immediately to guns. We see the Red Sox pigeon poop on a few Yankee fans, then, suddenly – Boom! and the bird hits the ground. Then it cuts to Nick Swisher in an Elmer Fudd hat, grinning and saying “Fire doesn’t have a rivalry with kindling.” Damn, I wish I was clever with video equipment!

  5. Melissa says:

    I think AJ responded to my threat to come give him a black eye. ; – ) I was glad to see him pitch so well. The most encouraging thing was that he gave up that home run, then continued to get outs.

    Ruth, I’m not on Hawaii now (wish I was!) We went to the Big Island (but just Volcano National Park) and Maui last summer.

    Eddie, you are so right that “baseball is so interesting.” Look at last night. A guy who is a power hitter has a 14 pitch at bat and ends up with a walk that sparks a rally. That’s why this game is so cool!!!! That and the greatest closer of all time facing the League leading hitter with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. John Sterling yelled so loud I wasn’t sure what happened at first and was afraid he was saying “It is high . . .” What’s funny is I had the same reaction when I listened to the game recap!

    Audrey, I love the image of Swish in an Elmer Fudd cap! There are some Boston Sucks chants at the Stadium, but you are right, there isn’t the same level of animosity. But then we’ve won 27 world championships. How is your water supply doing? Now that we have power, I’ve been able to see some of the damage. We drove up to Stowe only two weeks ago, so when I saw Killington, I was shocked. Have you heard how the village of Stowe is?

  6. John says:

    Burnett did a decient job last night but I must say even this battered old body could have hit that pitch he threw Punky Pedroria. Brain farts by AJ continue to plague him.

    Sox lead the league in least games without hitting an opponent batter.

    Going to Monday game. Sec. 133 top row in middle of row right in from of Lobel’s.

    Yanks have a very difficult remaining schedule left. I hope they stay this close so weekend with Sox at end of month is real important (I’m going on the 24th).

    You will surely have some stories to tell your pals back home Jane. Have a quiet trip home wether its today or Monday.

  7. Leo says:

    Case, did you fight amongst your family for the tickets for the weekend (hope you guys didn’t bloody each other up too much!)? You said it was Sunday, right? My friend couldn’t get Saturday and I’m waiting to hear back about Sunday tickets instead. I’m also going to get tickets on my own for one of the games of the final Red Sox series at home. You thinking of going to that too? If so, maybe we can meet up at a specific date?

    Audrey, I would love to see that commercial made. It’s too funny for words. I’m not really surprised to see Red Sox nation with commercials like that. As you said, it’s an inferiority complex and more often than not, they spend more time hating the Yankees than rooting for their own team.

    Melissa, keep up with the threats! Heck, maybe even get a punching bag with AJ’s face on it and take pictures to send to show you’re being serious! Oh and good news to hear that you have recovered from Irene (same goes for Jane and other fans here that had been hit by it). Katia is supposed to be coming too or so was said in the news.

  8. Jane Heller says:

    OMG, Leo. I forgot to write about Swisher. That bunt was such a bonehead move and I can picture Mo presiding over the Kangaroo Court and sentencing Swish to a winter of having to clean up the trash on the Major Deegan. HAHA. I did sleep better knowing we won the series and stayed a half-game within first.

    Glad you got to see the game as stressful as it was at the end, Ruth. If you were a drinker, you’d be really hungover by now because that ninth inning could have required quite a few cocktails. The issue with Swisher was that he bunted at all, considering that he’s one of our hottest hitters. He either got confused by the number of outs (a serious offense) or he just decided it would be a good idea (still a stupid move), but it was clear from his entrance into the dugout that nobody was amused. Oh, the looks he got from Girardi and the players, even Jeter.

    I really did have a feeling AJ would pitch well, YankeeCase. That’s why I kept telling everyone to watch in yesterday’s post. He may go back to his usual tricks or this game will give him confidence. Who knows. He’s the epitome of inconsistency. Yes, baseball is so interesting. The Red Sox should have run away with the division by now and yet here we are, virtually locked in a game of tag. It was a beautiful thing to see guys like Gonzalez and Crawford almost nullified in this series and for their vaunted pitching to be as vulnerable as ours. And yes, this trip certainly has been memorable for all the reasons you mentioned. Clearly, the game where I met you was the highlight! I’d love to see the Yanks take first place before I fly back on Tuesday morning. Mostly, I’m looking forward to watching night games that start at 4 pm PT!!!!

    Yes, I knew you’d watch, Audrey. You’re too big a fan not to. And aren’t you glad you did? Love your TV commercial. Maybe a career in advertising is in your future – or, at the very least, get your husband a Flip Cam like the one I have and shoot it yourselves. As a contrast to the ad you mentioned, I love the ones with Alec Baldwin. They’re like mini-movies. So funny.

    I agree completely about AJ, Melissa. The turning point for him was that he didn’t have a meltdown after giving up the homer (as well as after he didn’t like a few of the calls that went against him – and I don’t blame him; the home plate ump had a very strange strike zone).

    I wasn’t surprised, John, when I heard last night that the Red Sox pitchers led the league (or was it the majors?) in hitting batters. I get that they like to pitch inside, but it’s kind of ridiculous. I really hope Tex is okay. The schedule will be so tough the rest of the way, especially with everybody feeling bruised and banged up as is natural at this time of year. Glad you’ll be at those games cheering between bites of your Lobel’s sandwich!

  9. Audrey says:

    Thanks for asking about Vermont, Melissa. I haven’t heard anything specific about Stowe, but I know there are parts upstate that are devastated, as well as the town up the mountain from us, Wilmington, where Mt. Snow is located. The entire road across the southern part of the state is unusable right now and our town is still waiting to see if we are going to have water issues. one thing that helped us was that there was a large crew working on a highway here so they have been diverted to work on relief projects, such as replacing our damaged water pipe. By and large we re doing okay but some are having a harder time than others due to power outages, flooded basements, etc. Every time I come home from a bike ride I curse the steep hill I have to climb but after this storm I feel nothing but gratitude for it and the protection it gave us.

    After all the hype about the great Red Sox team it is sweet to be neck and neck with them. I know they have had their injury issues but so have we – A-Rod has been a non-factor in our current efforts and we’ve lost Jeter, Tex, Chavez, Garcia and others for periods of time over the course of the season. It is a testament to the heart and grit of our team that we are where we are and I think it is time to take it to the next level and leave Boston in the dust. The haters and and doubters need to be shut up once and for all.

  10. Barbara says:

    wow. i’m in a great mood today. i couldn’t stop smiling all through my gym workout. it wasn’t endorphins it was yankeedorphins! i can’t believe it. yes, like audrey, you knew i’d watch and i too hate watching on nesn. it was my red sox husband’s birthday so when he was done watching i listened and then made myself go to sleep because it’s just too long to then have my usual early start to my day. you aren’t old or cranky jane, you are just on the east coast. you never seem to have a problem staying up for games when you are home. i can’t believe that lester wasn’t his usual great self and while we didn’t get to him, he left the game early and bard came in earlier than he is used to. i can’t believe he wasn’t his usual unhittable self.
    i don’t usually recommend violence but melissa threatening aj was very helpful. i can’t believe he wasn’t his usual batting practice pitcher.
    this game seems more fun because of the expected horror show and the sox. so i guess these sox games are more painful and more gleeful.

  11. Jeff says:

    I watched the first 5 innings, noting AJ’s surprising calm, then got sidetracked on the phone. The conversation went over an hour and I came back to the television hoping to catch highlights only to see the game was still on. I looked at the score and started scratching my head. Again. Whew. What a contest!

  12. Barbara says:

    i just watched granderson’s catch and found out that a gon was up with the bases loaded to end the game. that would have scared me. he is an amazing hitter but the yanks did great pitching to him this series. wow. more wow

  13. Jane Heller says:

    Yankeedorphins. LOL, Barbara. And yes, A-Gon was up with the bases loaded. I wasn’t kidding when I said Mo’s ninth inning was a nail biter. My stomach was in a total knot and I couldn’t breathe. Did you read what A-Gon said about the called third strike? Let’s just say he believes he should still be batting.

    AJ did seem surprisingly calm, Jeff. Very Zen. As for your phone conversation, it could have lasted three hours and they’d still be playing.

  14. YankeeCase says:

    Melissa, that strikeout by Mo was so clutch! I feared that cutter would stay too much in the middle or that somehow Gonzalez would cheat and keep his hands in on the swing and make some disgusting contact. But instead we get a strikeout!! I was actually a bit more worried about Scutaro’s at bat. I definitely still remember his walkoff home run in Oakland a few years ago. Right off the left field foul pole…

    Leo, sorry to say I won’t be going to the game this weekend. Hurricane Irene caused a massive number of outages on Long Island so I’ve chosen to stay and work. I’ve had one day off since the previous Tuesday and when all is said and done I’ll have worked two weeks in a row, in excess of ten hours a day, without a day off… ACK! It was between those Yankee tickets or spending an afternoon with a gal friend of mine and I’m choosing work…! So you can be sure I’ll be well compensated for my time!

    Glad you had a good time out here, Jane. Again, it was great to meet you! We just had to make the A’s pay in some fashion for even thinking they could sweep us, right? We should be on top of the division sometime this weekend. Boston plays the Rangers while we play the Blue Jays. Not to say the Jay’s are pushovers, but they’re not as dangerous a team as the Rangers. So…. we shall see, huh?

    http://yankeecase.mlblogs.com/

  15. Jane Heller says:

    I had a great time at that game, YankeeCase, and it was definitely worth getting a little wet. :) I hope you’re right about the division. The Jays always seem to give us trouble and with Tex’s bad knee and….Never mind. I’ll think positively just the way you did against the A’s.

  16. YankeeCase says:

    Oh, God!! Just realized what is wrote! I was going to help that girl friend with furniture shopping, lol! She needs a coffee table and I was going to help haul it around for her! Sorry, I sounded like such a jerk there…!

  17. Jane Heller says:

    LOL, YankeeCase. I’m sure you’re not a jerk in the slightest, even if you are leaving this girl in the lurch with her coffee table!

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