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Game 152: Twins at Yankees

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First Pitch: 12:05 pm CT
TV: FSN
Radio: TRN
Know Thine Enemy: Pinstripe Alley

September is the month for make-up dates, and thus today the Twins are treated to the goofiest of all road trips: the one-game, one-day affair. The Yankees are by a middling distance the best team in the American League; the Twins are by a fair margin the worst, and are in the running for the worst team in baseball. (Houston has a worse record, but by run differential and sheer futility, I submit that the Twins have a case.)


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Scott Diamond 1-4 5 5 0 0 0 0 29.2 35 16 13 2 12 17 3.94 1.58

Diamond has made five starts for the Twins this year, and looks like he might be good enough to add to the Twins' cadre of passable-but-not-good starting pitchers. He's thrown at least five innings in each start and made it through six in four of them; he's yet to give up more than four earned runs in a start, and has held the opposition to three or fewer in four of them; and by the simplest definition, he's had three quality starts in five appearances. Yet his 1.58 baserunners per inning is up in the Nick Blackburn WHIP Stratosphere, and he's striking out almost nobody. But hey, cost control and all that, and he could probably replace any Twins fourth or fifth starter with virtually the same results.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - A.J. Burnett 10-11 31 30 0 0 0 0 178.1 176 109 103 27 80 159 5.20 1.44

I don't know why I want to laugh at A.J. Burnett, but I do.

I remember seeing him pitch a few years back at the Dome, back when he was really pretty good, and he seemed like he was verging on dominant. I was sitting in the lower deck behind home plate that day in 2007, one of one or two times in my life I've ever been able to do so, and what I remember is that he threw a million pitches (the boxscore says 125), and he went eight innings, and he seemed genuinely like he would be happy to march up to the plate and stab a hitter to death.

He led the league in strikeouts and starts in 2008, and he threw 221 innings, and he won eighteen games despite having a 4+ ERA, and then he signed in New York for $16.5 million a year. And now I want to laugh at him, because when people sign big contracts and then nosedive (see Zito, Barry), especially when they're with the Yankees, the powers of baseball schadenfreude dictate that one laughs until one's teeth come loose, and that's always fun.

I don't know enough about Burnett's career with the Yankees to rate it as a nosedive or not. I do know, however, that there are plenty of Yankee fans who are not happy with Burnett, and that Burnett is leading the league in both earned runs allowed and wild pitches this year, and that's enough for a chuckle. The Yankees are heading for 100 wins and the Twins for 100 losses, and Burnett is pretty good at what he does, all things considered, and is making sixteen and a half million dollars this year to do it, which is comfortably more money than I'll earn in a lifetime of work.

Nevertheless: Heh.