The last time A.J. Burnett took the ball against the Rays, it looked like he would play stopper to what would eventually become a six game losing streak -- the Yankees' longest of the season thus far -- before he imploded in the sixth inning. He'll get a chance to try again on Saturday, as the Yankees will skip Freddy Garcia. David Price (8-7, 3.56) will be on the mound for the Rays.
Discussion of the Day: What are your expectations for Bartolo Colon in the second half of the season? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
1) Katie Sharp considers the statistical oddities for the Yankees over the past week. Among them: CC Sabathia is only the second Yankees' pitcher, behind Tommy John to have 12 wins before the All-Star break in back to back seasons and that Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira are just the second pair of teammates to have 25 home runs at the break -- the only other pair to have done it? Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle in 1961.
2) Daniel Barbarisi profiles David Robertson's competitive side, noting that (via an interview with Robertson's wife) it extends even to board games such as Scrabble.
Robertson is currently the Yankees' best healthy reliever (no one would argue that Mariano Rivera isn't the pitcher they'd want up in a Game Seven, bottom-of-the-ninth scenario, but his injury has forced him to withdraw from the All-Star game), and if his competitive nature is a large part of his 1.05 ERA and 14.4 strikeout per nine ratio, Yankees fans will hope it's a nature that he does not lose any time soon.
3) Matt Imbrogno writes that Colon's reliance on one pitch could be his undoing. Colon's success this season has largely come about as a result of a high velocity two-seamer that he is able to locate precisely; when, however, Colon's location is off, Imbrogno notes, the result becomes something akin to what happened on Thursday night.
It's often said that Colon's teammate, Rivera, is the only pitcher who can get away with throwing just one pitch, and it is indeed hard to imagine that Colon can survive an entire season on essentially one pitch. Still, Colon has largely managed to survive the first half of the season, with just three starts where he allowed more than three earned runs. One could argue that the Yankees have already gotten more from Colon than they would have expected, and for that reason alone it is hard to call Colon's signing anything but successful.
Triple-A Scranton, High-A Tampa and Short Season Staten Island were all rained out, while the Rookie GCL Yankees had their game suspended due to rain in the third inning.
Double-A Trenton lost 6-1 to Reading.
Manny Banuelos struggled, allowing eight hits and five runs (four earned) in five innings. He walked one and struck out three, but also threw a wild pitch and hit two batters.
Low-A Charleston lost to Delmarva, 6-5.
Gary Sanchez had two hits in three at bats, including a home run, and walked twice, and he allowed a passed ball on defense.