The Protege takes on the Mentor

Tonight the Yanks take on the 1st place Jays north of the border at the Rogers Centre. AJ Burnett takes the mound for the Yanks and his former mentor, Roy "Doc" Halladay will pitch for Toronto. This will surely be an interesting match-up. the surprise 1st place team versus the team that was supposed to be in 1st, but is in 3rd instead. Add in that Toronto is putting one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball on the mound and this is a must see game. AJ Burnett has actually pitched well or at least at an acceptable level this season, though his stats might not show it. Sure, he got rocked in Boston, but in his other starts he's been at least passable. Let's look

4/9 5.1 IP 2 ER 6 K
4/14 8.0 IP 2 ER 9K
4/19 6.1 3 ER 2K
4/25 5.o IP 8 ER 3K (against Boston)
4/30 7.0 IP 4 ER 5K
5/6 6.0 IP 3 ER 8K

So if you don't include that start in Boston, Burnett has a 3.86 ERA, 8.27 K/9 and an average of about 6.2 innings a start. That's not half bad. Apparently AJ has been a great clubhouse guy as well, which I wan't planning on as the season started. If AJ can step it up today and go 7 innings with 3 or less earned runs we'll be in the game. We mostly just have to hope that our offense can hit off Halladay. We only have 3 hitters who have better than a .250 AVG against Doc. A-Rod's got a .273 avg against him with 1 homer in 33 at bats, Johnny Damon has a .341 avg. against him in 44 at bats, and Brett Gardner has hit .429 against him in 7 at bats. Both Hideki and Robby Cano have two career home runs off Halladay, and we have to hope they can get some power off him today as well.

Since A-Rod's epic 1st pitch, 1st swing, 1st at bat home run, he's gone 1 for 10 with a walk and no RBI's. It's a small sample, a really small sample, but let's hope A-Rod's bat shows up again tonight in Toronto. I'd love to see him have a 3-4 day to cement himself back into the lineup.

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