Sunday afternoon, embattled starter A.J. Burnett, with his postseason life largely on the line, toed the rubber against the freefalling Boston Red Sox. Seven and two-thirds of an inning later, Burnett moseyed toward the Yankees dugout, having struck out six, allowed but two earned runs, and driven another nail into the quickly closing coffin surrounding the Red Sox season. With the capacity crowd on its feet loudly cheering his name, Burnett ambled to the bench with all the alacrity of Mo Vaughn heading to a salad bar, clearly trying his hardest to make that moment last forever.
The Yankees had clinched everything they possibly could, they had the Sox under their boots, and the quixotic Burnett had thrown a gem.
Unfortunately, for Joe Girardi, that’s the worst thing that could have happened.