The Yankees Keeping Finding New Bottoms to the Barrel

A.J. Burnett's implosion begats sixth straight loss

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Just like riding a bike or just like falling off of one?

    Curtis Granderson's remarkable 2011 season continued on Monday night when he blasted a three-run home run off of David Price to give the Yankees an early 5-1 lead over the Rays.

    Not only was it the continuation of the center fielder's miraculous turnaround from southpaw cannon fodder to lefty killer, it was just the second home run Price has ever allowed to a left-handed hitter.

    In other years, we would be talking about Granderson as the best non-Jose Bautista player in the first two months of the season. This is not other years, however, and we've got to stop the lovefest here because the Yankees blew that lead and lost 6-5.

    As with the other losses in this six game skid, there's plenty of blame to go around. A.J. Burnett and Joe Girardi are going to start any list.

    Burnett cruised through five innings, allowing only a solo homer to old buddy Johnny Damon, before running into trouble in the sixth. There was a double, a homer, two outs, two hits sandwiched with two wild pitches and, finally, a two-run B.J. Upton homer to hand the lead over to the Rays.

    We haven't seen it since 2010, but recognizing a classic Burnett meltdown is just like riding a bike. You don't forget some things, unless you're Joe Girardi.

    Girardi sat in the dugout and watched the whole thing come apart at the seams while making no move to stop the bleeding until the patient was lifeless on the table. Yes, he's got a shorthanded bullpen but even Amaury Sanit is a better choice than Bad A.J. when there's a game hanging in the balance.

    Still, it was just a one-run hole and the Yankees had three innings to work against the Rays bullpen which includes another old friend, Kyle Farnsworth, in the closer's role. Surely a team with the Yankees offensive pedigree could scratch out something?

    (Pause for gut-busting laughter)

    Maybe in another dimension. In this one, the Yankees made nine straight outs and meekly shuffled off to the clubhouse.

    Alex Rodriguez struck out four times, Derek Jeter now has five hits (all singles) since he was declared back to life and Mark Teixeira was hitless once again. If not for Granderson, in other words, they might as well forfeit games to save everyone the trouble.

    When you throw in the fact that this all comes with the backdrop of the Yankees insisting on continuing to drag out the Jorge Posada mess from Saturday night, you really have to wonder if there's a bottom to this pit.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.