NEW YORK --
"The key for A.J. -- if he gets in a little pickle -- is getting out of it, and getting out of it quickly," manager
"The other thing you look for with A.J. is strike one," Girardi had said, "because A.J. is the type of guy that can expand the zone with the depth of his breaking ball, and that's important."
In his 97-pitch outing, Burnett threw first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 25 batters he'd faced, a good ratio, and that control afforded him a 3-2 lead on the Rangers in Game 4 of the ALCS.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Burnett threw 99 pitches on Tuesday night.
It was the 98th that did in both Burnett and his club. It was a 92-mph fastball, thrown on the level of
Pitch No. 99 was also a first-pitch strike -- 19 of 27, Girardi couldn't have hoped for better -- and
Once Burnett came out, the Rangers piled on, as they have in each of their three wins in the series, in the seventh, turning a tense 5-3 lead into a relatively comfortable 7-3 one, and then in the ninth, turning it into a 10-3 laugher.
Texas outmatched the Yankees in essentially the same way they have in every inning of the ALCS, with the exception of a single half-inning way back in Game 1. They keep hitting home runs -- four of them tonight (including two more from
They also keep receiving effective pitching. While starter
Even including that half-inning, the Rangers have outscored the Yankees 30-11, their team ERA is 2.75 to the Yankees' 7.71, and they have five regulars hitting over .300 in the series while the Yankees have only one -- Cano, who is batting .467 and suddenly seems the only Yankee who represents a real threat every time he steps to the plate.
The series is due to resume in New York on Wednesday afternoon, just under 16 hours after this most recent crushing Rangers win concluded.
"For this team to win three games in a row is not beyond the realm of possibility," said Berkman in a quiet Yankees clubhouse.
And indeed it is not. Even though Mark Teixeira seems to have been lost for the rest of the postseason
But with the Yankees about to play their fifth game of an ALCS, it is certainly something of a surprise, and telling too, that the best that one of their players can do is to suggest that it's "not beyond the realm of possibility" that they might win it.