Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Opinions Varied (And Mostly Wrong) On A.J.'s Start Last Night

(The walk of semi-shame.  Courtesy of The AP)

"Burnett pitched pretty well for the most part.... " - Chad from LoHud.

Wrong.  More like he pitched mediocre for the most part and OK for the least part.

"A.J. Burnett did what he has done all season, giving the Yankees a solid start." - Tamar at IIATMS.

Wrong.  The start wasn't that solid and wasn't what he's done all season.

"A.J. Burnett was frustrating in this one, but kept the Yankees in the game. He allowed only three runs (two earned) in 5.1 innings of work, but walked six on 105 pitches. He left in the sixth with the bases loaded and the Yankees clinging to a 4-3 lead that looked tenuous at best." - Mike J-G at TYA.

Closer, but still giving Burnett too much credit for the low number of runs allowed and not enough scorn for the lack of length to his start. 

"After three encouraging starts, A.J. Burnett reverted back to his old ways on Tuesday, and he has his bullpen to thank for the fact that his ERA actually went down....

He walked five guys, and four of those free passes went to players hitting in the bottom third of the lineup. You just can’t walk Jose Molina, Corey Patterson, and Jayson Nix (twice) and live to tell about it....

... he did not pitch well tonight at all. Leaving the game with the lead had far more to do with Robertson and his offense than anything else. Hopefully this is just a hiccup, but who knows with Burnett." - Mike A. of RAB.

Bingo.  As usual, Mike was spot on with his brutally honest and completely accurate assessment of Burnett's outing.  Sure the 6 Ks and more swings and misses look nice, but there was too much of Bad A.J. in the outing: constant bounced curveballs, not enough strikes, inability to throw strike 1, multiple meetings at the mound.  He didn't attack hitters the way he has in his earlier starts, and he tried to tip-toe around guys after giving up hits or walks to them earlier in the night.

If people want to try to look for silver linings in the outing last night because he's pitched decent so far, that's fine.  But don't sugarcoat the fact that overall, A.J. did not pitch a good game last night and the numbers and the eye test for anybody that saw the game are proof.  That is the plain fact of it and to try to say otherwise is just wrong.  It's bad enough that the Yankees have had to treat the guy with kid gloves.  The blogosphere shouldn't be doing the same thing.

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