Friday, April 10, 2009

Okay, this makes more sense

Take a deep breath everybody. I think we're going to make it through this after all.

I knew something had to give heading into Thursday's series finale at Camden Yards. We were playing the Orioles after all, who haven't been able to beat the Yankees since Bill Clinton was destroying blue dresses in the White House. But CC and then Chien (Chien-Ming?) failed, and so it was that the retooled Bronx Bombers turned to their third ace in the hole, A.J. Burnett, to bandage a cut that had started to bleed out.

Burnett wasn't great ... but he was good enough against an Orioles team that seemed content to settle for a series win. He pitched in and out of trouble, eventually being lifted after allowing two runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. He had six K's, which is six more than Sabathia and Wang combined for in their awful debuts.

The Yankees offense did the rest in the 11-2 victory, as Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano each connected for their first homers of the season to lead a 13-hit New York attack. The bullpen was excellent for a second straight game (4 2/3 scoreless), and a healthy-looking Mo even got in on the action with a clean ninth. With the win, New York avoided its first 0-3 start since 1998 (we all know how that disastrous beginning turned out).

Burnett deserves plenty of credit for ensuring this early slip didn't turn into a slide, but just as deserving was Swisher, who finished with three hits while tying a career high with five RBIs. You can count me as unconverted to Nady Nation, and it will be interesting to see how things play out if Swisher keeps up his hot start. He's the type of high-energy guy this team has been missing in recent years, and it would behoove the Yanks to keep him involved. Let's see if Nady shrinks from the challenge or rises to the occasion, because you get the feeling there could already be rumblings behind the scenes regarding right field.

Finally, let's give a special River & Sunset FU to Peter Angelos, an owner who will in all likelihood deny another competitive season to his club's loyal fanbase. The Orioles' payroll is $134 million less than the Yankees', a figure that actually speaks more of Angelos' frugality than the Yankees' excess. Pete, I know Albert Belle screwed you or whatever, and I understand that way more people should have watched The Wire, but I think it's time you got over it and started spending some money again. Your ballpark is too perfect to be filled with empty seats every night.

(I'm sure Mr. Angelos will read this over lunch tomorrow and cry into his crab cakes. Positive of it.)

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