Let's hope this was the low point for A.J. Burnett's 2011 season. Joe Girardi showed he had no trust in his "no. 2" starter, pulling him for Luis Ayala in the second inning with the Yankees already trailing 4-0. Burnett threw 61 pitches (two of the "wild" variety) and only recorded five outs before Ayala relieved him with the bases-loaded. He allowed all three runners to score to give Burnett a line of 1.2 ip & 7 er.
Going by earned runs and innings pitched, this was the worst start of Burnett's career (a span of 303 games).* He had never allowed at least seven earned runs in fewer than two innings before. It's safe to say that, unless magic happens over the next six weeks, A.J. has pitched himself out of the postseason rotation.
The Yankee offense didn't help much either, scratching across a lone (unearned) run against Minnesota's "ace," Francisco Liriano. They then scored a pair of runs off Twins reliever Alex Burnett to make it a six-run game, and followed with a solo shot by Andruw Jones in the ninth.
Update: Video of a pissed off Joe Girardi.
Aaron Laffey made a predictably poor pinstriped debut (3 ip, 5 h, 2 er, 2 bb, 2 k).
Does anyone out there still think A.J. should be starting over Phil Hughes or Ivan Nova (or anyone else for that matter)? If you're unconvinced, check out this stat.
There was some good news: Jones continued his torrid second half (1-3, HR, BB)... Kansas City beat Boston, so the Yanks remain a half-game up in the AL East... And A-Rod is finally expected to return to the lineup tomorrow for the series finale.
Play of the Game: Danny Valencia's leadoff homer in the second inning to give the Twins a 3-0 lead (-7.5%).
* Admittedly, I didn't see the game, so take into account that I'm basing this recap solely on the box score.