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Blog Entry

They proved little, but Yanks come away happy

Posted on: September 2, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: September 2, 2011 1:09 am
 
BOSTON -- This was never going to be the defining week for the American League East superpowers.

Short of a major injury, nothing that happened was going to change the course of this season for either the Yankees or the Red Sox, and nothing was going to help much in deciding whether this year goes down as a success or failure.

More than eleven hours of baseball in three days, and they proved nothing?

Pretty much.

At least the Yankees can go away thinking they got something out of it. They got a series win over the Red Sox for the first time in five tries this year, they got a CC Sabathia win over Boston for the first time in five tries this year, and they scored some runs off Josh Beckett for the first time in five tries this year.

"I don't know how much it'll help us [down the road]," hitting coach Kevin Long said. "But you put good thoughts in your mind."

The Yankees would like you to think that Thursday's 4-2 win was a major turning point for troubled starter A.J. Burnett, and their comments Thursday night would strongly suggest that Burnett will make the cut (and that Phil Hughes will go to the bullpen) when they cut from six starters to five.

Burnett gave up two runs, got one out in the sixth inning, and left with two runners on base. But manager Joe Girardi used words like "great" and "outstanding" to describe his performance, and catcher Russell Martin insisted that Burnett "just looked like a different person."

Is it possible that Burnett, who in three years as a Yankee has never shown any ability to sustain success, could pitch so well in September that he could become a postseason factor?

Theoretically, he could. But how well would he need to pitch, and how many times, for the Yankees to feel any confidence in using him in a playoff game?

"It's one step," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "It's a good one. Give him a lot of credit."

Give the Yankees a little credit. They were the team that had more on the line in this series, and they were the team that got something out of it.

And the Red Sox?

It's not like these three games exposed any great weaknesses. They lost Tuesday because they left 16 runners on base, and they lost Thursday because Alfredo Aceves walked one batter and hit another, and Daniel Bard made a bad pitch to Martin (who turned it into a two-run double).

Even then, they loaded the bases in the ninth inning against Mariano Rivera, who had to throw his best pitch of the night to strike out Adrian Gonzalez to end the game.

"I don't think there's a team better than the other," Martin said. "Each day, it's going to be the team that plays the best in that game."

The Yankees were a small bit better on two days this week, the Red Sox on one.

Does that mean anything? Not really.

By October, this series will be long forgotten.

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