By Neil Keefe
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A.J. Burnett deserved better on Wednesday night. He deserved to win. He gave up ONE HIT in SEVEN INNINGS! ONE HIT! But Burnett was once again victimized by a slumping offense that seems to sleepwalk through an entire week with the exception of one day in which it all comes together (look at last week).
After starting the season 3-0 with a 4.67 ERA in his first three starts, Burnett is just 1-2 with two no-decisions in his last five starts. Here’s his line over those five starts:
33.1 IP, 22 H, 14 R, 10 ER, 13 BB, 23 K, 3 HR, 2.70 ERA
The problem is the offense has scored just 16 in those five games (an average of 3.2 runs per game), including a shutout at the hands of the White Sox on April 25 when Burnett allowed one run in eight innings. In those five starts, the most runs Burnett allowed in a start was four and that happened to be in his lone win from the bunch, so go figure.
With Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner breaking out of their slumps since the beginning of May, and Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano remaining the most consistent Yankees through the first 34 games, there are four Yankees enduring serious slumps. Since the Yankees’ win over the Orioles on Easter Sunday (April 24), the team is 8-8 over their last 16 games. And going back to that extra-inning win on April 24 is when those four players began their horrible slides.
Since A-Rod has been a Yankee, it seems like when he slumps the entire offense slumps, proving he is the most important piece of the entire lineup. A-Rod hit his last home run on April 23 (the day before Easter) and was hitting .370 at the end of the day on that Saturday. Since then he has been in an epic downfall, and it’s no coincidence that with him slumping the Yankees have played .500 ball since his last home run.
Since April 24: 11-for-62 (.177), 0 HR, 5 RBI, 15 K, .250 OBP, .194 SLG
I’m not getting on Martin by any means because he has been the best new addition to this team and probably their MVP through the first 21 percent of the season. And because if I get on him I’m just proving my friends that are Dodgers fans right when they warned me about Martin. But after Martin’s hot start it was inevitable that he would cool off at some point.
Since April 24: 7-for-44 (.159), 0 HR, 5 RBI, 9 K, .302 OBP, .205 SLG
Posada’s whole season has been one long slump, but at the beginning of the season you could say at least he’s still hitting for power. You can’t really say that right now. Posada picked up a pair of hits on Wednesday night and his average is up to .162, but Michael Kay acted like Posada should be shocked that the Royals decided to intentionally walk Nick Swisher to face Posada in the bottom of the ninth with the winning run on second. Posada struck out.
Since April 24: 8-for-50 (.160), 0 HR, 4 RBI, 14 K, .276 OBP, .200 SLG
Swisher’s season has been equally as bad as Posada’s, but while Posada isn’t hitting for average, Swisher isn’t hitting for power. Swisher averaged an extra-base hit every 8.7 at-bats last season. He is averaging one every 23 at-bats this season with only five (three doubles, two home runs) on the year. Despite a current four-game hitting streak, Swisher’s average is at .217.
Since April 24: 10-for-56 (.179), 2 HR, 6 RBI, 19 K, .303 OBP, .304 SLG
I’m hoping that the slump ends on Thursday or at least before Friday night and everything begins to click for the weekend series against the Red Sox, who will come to Yankee Stadium at 17-20. Otherwise, the Yankees might just give the Red Sox some CPR in the way that they gave it to the Tigers last week in Detroit. The Tigers are 8-2 since beginning a four-game series against the Yankees last Monday. They had lost six in a row before the Yankees series. The Yankees don’t need the same thing to happen with the Red Sox.