It’s always an adventure when AJ returns to Toronto and tonight should be no different with two electric arms facing off against one another.
Instead of Roy Halladay pitching for the good guys this evening, the player toeing the rubber for the Jays is the player traded for Halladay: Kyle Drabek. Since Drabek first made his debut in a Blue Jays uniform, Jays fans have been swooning over his dominant cut fastball and pitching pedrigree (Kyle is the son of former Cy Young-winner Doug Drabek).
Who would have thought that at this point in the season, AJ Burnett (3-0) would have only 2 wins less than the entire Boston Red Sox team? Burnett had a disastrous season in 2010 but has seemed to have turned things around early on under the tutelage of new Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
During his time in Toronto, Burnett relied heavily on his fastball and hard spike curveball. He had a changeup, but it was a “show me” pitch – and definitely a work in progress. This season Rothschild has encouraged Burnett to use it more frequently and the results have been positive.
That being said, Burnett is coming back to Toronto – a team that knows him like no other, and is especially familiar with how exactly to get Burnett to unravel. Although Burnett was strong in his last start against Toronto (6.2 scoreless innings on July 2nd, 2010), Burnett has posted a 14.54 ERA in his other 3 starts.
Kyle Drabek (1-0, 1.93ERA) will be making his 4th start of the season. He hasn’t won since April 2nd, despite allowing just 3 earned runs over his past 11.2 innings pitched in his last 2 starts. It’s interesting to note that while possessing an outstanding cut fastball, opponents are hitting just .077 against Drabek’s curveball. Perhaps he will be using it more often against this potent Yankees lineup?
Something to keep an eye on:
The Blue Jays lead the league with 21 stolen bases and AJ Burnett is by far THE WORST (allowing 37 steals against in 2010) pitcher in all of baseball at holding runners on. Travis Snider and Aaron Hill are both tied for the club lead with 5 steals. Both are in the lineup tonight.
The best part about this matchup is that I’ll be liveblogging it for the ScoreMobile. If you can’t make the game in person (or even if you can!), join me for the 7pm start and I’ll keep you updated on what’s happening in the game. If you want to follow along on the web, hit me up at: http://scrbliv.me/24029 and feel free to join in the discussion![youtube FqlIibwdF5w] [youtube G6LVIi7pzZI]