Burnett sharp in Game 2 as Yankees even series

The Yankees needed a strong outing from starter A.J. Burnett on Thursday, and that’s exactly what they got.

Burnett held the Phillies to one earned run over seven innings as the Yankees won Game 2 of the World Series, 3-1. Burnett attacked hitters with his fastball and his curve was nearly unhittable as he struck out nine and limited one of the best offenses in baseball to only one run. Closer Mariano Rivera didn’t allow a run in the eighth or ninth innings to earn his 38th career postseason save.

This win was huge for the Yankees on a couple levels. Not only did they tie the series, but they also don’t have to go to Philadelphia down 0-2. While the Phillies accomplished their goal of winning at least one game in New York, the momentum has swung in the Yankees’ favor and now they have confidence heading into Philadelphia.

Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel will get some heat for allowing Pedro Martinez to start the seventh inning (the Yankees wound up tacking on another run to go up 3-1 after Martinez allowed the first two batters to reach base), but Martinez wanted to go back out and Manuel showed confidence in his starter. If Martinez got through the seventh, Manuel would have been lauded for saving his bullpen and trusting Pedro to work through the inning. Instead, he’ll likely receive criticism for not going to his bullpen.

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Yankees bench Swisher for Hairston Jr.

In a move that will no doubt bring a smile to most Yankee fans’ faces, the Bronx Bombers have decided to bench Nick Swisher in favor of Jerry Hairston Jr. for Game 2 of the World Series.

From Rotoworld.com:

Hairston is 10-for-27 (.370) lifetime against Phillies starter Pedro Martinez and Swisher is 11 for his last 77 (.143) with one homer dating back to the regular season. Of course, it’s also worth noting that Hairston hasn’t faced Pedro since 2004 and hasn’t started in right field since joining the Yankees.

This move won’t be the difference in whether or not the Yankees can even the series, but something had to be done. Swisher has been awful so far in the postseason and Joe Girardi had waited long enough. If Hairston is productive right away, I doubt Swisher will return to the starting lineup the rest of the series.

Then again, if Hairston is just as brutal, then who knows what Girardi will do in order to conjure up some more production from his outfield.

Martinez sounds off about New York media, fans

As he prepares to start Game 2 of the World Series tonight against the Yankees, Phillies’ pitcher Pedro Martinez had some interesting things to say about the New York media and fans.

From ESPN.com:

“You guys have used me and abused me,” he said. “I remember quotes in the paper, ‘Here comes the man that New York loves to hate.’ Man? None of you have probably ever eaten steak with me or rice and beans with me to understand what the man is about. You might say the player, the competitor, but the man? You guys have abused my name. You guys have said so many things, have written so many things.

“There was one time I remember when I was a free agent, there was talk that I might meet with [George] Steinbrenner. One of your colleagues had me in the papers with horns and a tail, red horns and a tail. That’s a sign of the devil. I’m a Christian man. I don’t like those things. I take those things very serious. Those are the kind of things that the fans actually get used to seeing, and actually sometimes influence those people to believe that you are a bad person, that you are like an ogre.”

“I don’t know if you realize this, but because of you guys in some ways, I might be at times the most influential player that ever stepped in Yankee Stadium. I can honestly say that,” Martinez said. “I have all the respect in the world for the way they enjoy being fans. Sometimes they might be giving you the middle finger, just like they will be cursing you and telling you what color underwear you’re wearing. All those things you can hear when you’re a fan. But at the end of the day, they’re just great fans that want to see the team win. I don’t have any problem with that.”

He also addressed the fight he had with Don Zimmer when he was a member of the Red Sox:

“It was an ugly scene,” Martinez said Wednesday during a pregame World Series news conference, adding this was probably the first time he was discussing it publicly. “Zim charged me and I think he’s going to say something, but his reaction was totally the opposite, [he] was trying to punch my mouth and told me a couple of bad words about my mom. I just had to react and defend myself.

Zimmer wasn’t having it though:

“Pedro is full of crap,” Zimmer told the St. Petersburg Times. “It’s what, six years later? If Pedro wants to be a big man, I don’t care what he says.”

Zimmer, however, was more forgiving in an interview with the New York Daily News.
“I told the whole world I was wrong and that I was embarrassed by what I’d done and I apologized for it,” Zimmer told the Daily News. “I was definitely wrong and Pedro didn’t do nothing. I told the whole world that, even though the Yankees didn’t want me to hold a press conference because they were afraid I might say something to stir things up more.”

There’s definitely an added element to tonight’s game with Martinez taking on the Yankees in New York. The Yankees are almost in a must-win seeing as how they lost last night and would no doubt love to stick it to their old Boston nemesis.

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