After Brutal Loss, Yankees Need Step-Up Game From Erratic A.J. Burnett
NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Yankees manager Joe Girardi insists his team will recover from one of its most painful losses of the season.
That could be difficult Tuesday night with struggling A.J. Burnett set to take the mound against Dan Haren, who has never lost in the Bronx heading into the opener of this three-game set for the Los Angeles Angels.
Phil Hughes was scheduled to take the hill, but won’t after coming out of the bullpen in Sunday’s extra-innings loss to the Red Sox. Girardi will instead give the ball to Burnett (8-9, 4.54 ERA), who is 2-6 with a 5.29 ERA in his past 11 starts.
“I know it’s my job and I know I get paid a lot of money,” Burnett told the New York Post. “But I have to enjoy it. I have to find a way to have fun.”
Burnett was staked to a 12-run lead in the third inning Wednesday but only recorded one out in the fifth before he exited in an 18-7 victory over the White Sox. The veteran right-hander gave up seven runs and a career-high 13 hits, and he’s 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in his last six outings.
“I let (the win) go,” Burnett told the paper. “I wished somebody would have grabbed me and shook me. I tried not to lose the game.”
Burnett is 0-8 with a 7.28 ERA in 12 August starts with New York and 2-2 with a 4.60 ERA in seven career outings against Los Angeles (63-52). No batter has faced him more than Bobby Abreu, who is 22 for 67 (.328) with 19 strikeouts.
“I need to be better,” he said. “I’m going to be better.”
New York (69-44) fell out of a first-place AL East tie after Sunday’s 3-2, 10-inning loss at Boston. Closer Mariano Rivera blew his fifth save in the ninth before Hughes gave up the winning run in the 10th.
“This game hurts but we’ll bounce back,” Girardi said. “We’re a club that has bounced back all year long. We just didn’t get it done tonight.”
The Yankees won the opener in Boston to extend their win streak to a season-high eight before dropping the next two. It marked their first series loss since losing two of three July 4-6 in Cleveland.
“I don’t call it disappointing or frustrating,” Rivera said. “We lost the series. That’s baseball. We’ve been playing great.”
Haren (12-6, 2.81) will be making his first start at the current Yankee Stadium after going 3-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three outings at the previous one. He’s won in every other current AL stadium.
The right-hander is 6-1 with a 2.58 ERA over his last nine starts, yielding two runs over 17 innings in consecutive wins. He allowed one in eight innings Thursday in a 7-1 victory over Minnesota.
The Angels are in second place in the West and completed a 4-2 homestand with Sunday’s 2-1 win over Seattle, taking two of three in the series despite scoring four runs.
Los Angeles has scored the second-fewest runs in the league with 441, while the Yankees have scored the second-most in the majors with 603.
“We need more production, especially on the offensive side,” manager Mike Scioscia told MLB’s official website. “There has to be more growth offensively with us in this last third of the season. If not, it’s going to be tough.”
Los Angeles limited New York to eight runs in winning two of three at home June 3-5.
Including three losses in the 2009 AL championship series, the Angels are 3-9 at the current Yankee Stadium.
Will A.J. get back to .500 against the Angels? Sound off in the comments below…
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