It was yet another quality start from a member of the Yankees rotation in the season's second half, most recently this afternoon by A.J. Burnett, who said afterward the starters are competing against each other and doing some “feeding” as well.
“It’s a friendly competition, you want to go out there and do the same job, if not better, than the guy before because that’s what we’re here for,” said Burnett, who allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings. “There’s no doubt were feeding off one another.”
Said Joe Girardi: “I think they do feed off of each other, and they don’t want to be the one who stops the streak. They want to go out and throw well. And they compete against each other, and to me that’s a great situation.”
The Yankees (57-37), in winning their sixth straight, reached 20 games over .500 for the first time since September 2007 and maintained their lead over the Red Sox in the East. They haven’t been 20 games over .500 on July 22 of a season since 2004.
“Those kind of things you don’t worry about,” said Alex Rodriguez, who had two hits and an RBI. “When you’re in the middle of July we’re trying to get better. We know what we’re capable of doing and we just try to worry about what we do in our house. We’re doing a good job and just have to keep going.”
CC Sabathia (9-6, 3.66) tries to keep it going tomorrow night.
As for the one downer for the Yankees from the afternoon, there were those home runs allowed by Brian Bruney in the ninth.
“It’s the best stuff we’ve seen since he’s come back,” Girardi said. “You don’t always look at the results, you look at the stuff and his stuff was much better today, and it’s really something to build on.”
Now, there was an element of truth to that in regard to the first two hitters Bruney faced. The 91-mph slider Bruney struck out Robert Andino with was nasty, and the 95-mph fastball he got Brian Roberts on was outstanding.
So Bruney’s stuff, overall, did look better than it did in his previous outing in Anaheim, but he didn’t do himself any favors attempting to downplay the home runs either.
“I thought I threw the ball tonight like I had thrown at the beginning of the year and it just so happened that they hit two out of the park,” Bruney said. “Hats off to them. I’ll get them next time.”
Bruney said later: I felt good about the way I pitched today, if I didn’t, I’d tell you I didn’t.”
That is certainly true. It was Bruney who, after the game in Anaheim, told us, ““I’m pitching like ----, that’s all I can say.”
He definitely wasn’t that Wednesday afternoon but it’s tough to “yeah, but…” two home runs in an inning.
Some other things, courtesy of the postgame notes.
* Mariano Rivera has converted 24 straight save opportunities and his last 40 at home since August 2007.
* Burnett is 7-2 in his last 10 starts with a 2.31 ERA, limiting opponents to three earned runs or less in each outing.
* Phil Hughes has not allowed a run in 14 straight outings, a stretch of 20 innings.
Finally, Newsday is launching a “new look” tonight with the Web site so we’re likely to have an altered look soon. Nothing wrong with a little change and a perfect time for our first Live Chat, which is scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday) at 11 a.m. We’ll talk about this current winning streak, Roy Halladay (why not) or whatever else is on your mind. Talk to you then.