Sunday, August 21, 2011

Today's Lineup: A Familiar Face Makes His Gallant Return

The Horse is back, ladies and gentlemen!  And in his familiar cleanup spot in the lineup.

1) Derek Jeter- DH
2) Curtis Granderson- CF
3) Mark Teixeira- 1B
4) Alex Rodriguez- 3B
5) Robinson Cano- 2B
6) Nick Swisher- RF
7) Russell Martin- C
8) Brett Gardner- LF
9) Eduardo Nunez- SS

Also, via LoHud, Aaron Laffey was optioned to SWB to make room for A-Rod, so it looks like Hector Noesi will continue to waste away in the bullpen getting used once every week instead of sent back down to stretch back out as a starter.  But today, who cares?  The fucking Horse is back, baby!!  Hit the music!

A.J. Burnett And The Case Of The Mysterious F*cking B@llsh!t

(The king of fucking bullshit.  Courtesy of The AP)

By now, A.J. Burnett being an ineffective starting pitcher is no longer newsworthy.  After 2+ subpar years in pinstripes, and 3 straight horrific Augusts, I've accepted that he is what he is and I would venture to say that most other intelligent Yankee fans feel the same way.  In fact, I think recognizing that A.J. sucks is something that both the intelligent and unintelligent Yankee fans have in common, which is sad because it really doesn't take that much intelligence or baseball knowledge to recognize how awful A.J. is and has been, no matter how much you smoke the objective pipe.

So since his on-mound performance no longer warrants discussion, we can now move on to the latest topic, that being A.J.'s reaction to being removed from last night's game by Joe after just 1.2  innings.  Anybody who watched the game on YES could clearly see A.J. turn over his shoulder and say "this is fucking bullshit" after Joe took the ball from him, and another camera angle showed Joe responding, although his words were more difficult to make out.  After leaving the field, A.J. headed straight into the walkway from the dugout to the clubhouse, and a few moments later Joe ventured down there, seemingly to confront A.J., before both returned a few minutes later.  A.J. continued to break baseball code by not sticking around to see the final out of his disasterpiece, instead choosing to get up and leave the dugout again after Luis Ayala gave up a 2-run single to finish A.J.'s ER tally of 7 for the night.

The A.J.-Joe interaction was instantly the talk of the broadcast, and rightfully so.  This was the 3rd time recently that A.J. had reacted negatively to being taken out of a game by Joe, with each instance escalating in its disrespect for his manager and the code of the game.  Naturally, Joe, A.J., Russell Martin, and everybody else were in full-on damage control mode after the game, saying that there were no problems between A.J. and Joe, that A.J. was upset about the ball 4 call to Mauer, that Martin told him it was a strike, that Joe was just going into the walkway to check the replay on the pitch, and that nobody would ever have anything ill to say towards each other because they all have so much respect for each other and they need each other this season to be successful.

After I got done throwing up from reading all of that, I thought a little more about the incident last night and what was really said between Joe and A.J. and whether or not A.J.'s "fucking bullshit" was directed at Joe, and I came to the conclusion that it really doesn't matter.  None of it does.  And when I say that, I mean that the reasons and explanations don't matter, not the incident itself.  The incident itself and the fact that A.J. chose to say what he said in that situation, with all the TV cameras watching him, after the performance he had just put on out on the mound, regardless of who he was directing his words to, is what matters.  Because THAT is what's fucking bullshit.

It's fucking bullshit that, assuming all the postgame explanations are true, A.J. would call the ball 4 pitch to Mauer fucking bullshit.  It was the last pitch he threw to the last batter he faced in a game where he managed to get 5 outs against arguably the worst lineup in the American League.  He couldn't locate his fastball to save himself anywhere except right over the heart of the plate, he couldn't put his curveball anywhere except so far in the dirt that Russell Martin couldn't handle it, and he had just walked the yard in that inning.  Why would he expect to get a borderline call from the homeplate umpire given what he had already done?  That is what's fucking bullshit.  The fact that A.J. can bypass his entire shitty start in his own mind and be so upset about one pitch.  One pitch that didn't make or break him in the context of the game.  That's the bullshit part.  Not Joe taking him out, not the ump not making the call.  It's fucking bullshit that A.J. can't be honest with himself and recognize that he's pitching like fucking bullshit.

And it's fucking bullshit that A.J. continues to go out and disappoint.  It's fucking bullshit that Joe and Cash and everybody else continues to try and defend him and then he goes out and pitches worse the next time.  It's fucking bullshit that A.J. doesn't have the command, the confidence, the stones, the wherewithal, or even the luck to go out and pitch up to his stuff and his contract.  It's fucking bullshit that Cash doesn't expect us fans or the media to consider that contract when we evaluate A.J.  It's fucking bullshit that with all the success the team has had this season, and all the good stories there are to talk about (leading the division, Bartolo and Freddy, CC, D-Rob, Curtis, Jeter's resurgence, A-Rod's return, etc.) that we're still sitting here focused on A.J. Burnett and his horrible pitching.  It's fucking bullshit that there's a 6-man rotation in place and will continue to be through next week so Joe has an excuse to keep A.J. in the rotation.

Basically, it's fucking bullshit that I even had to write about any of this.  A.J. is the worst starting pitcher on the team, and it's fucking bullshit that he isn't being treated as such.  The guy has done nothing to earn the confidence and support that his manager has shown him, and nothing to earn another start in this rotation unless somebody gets hurt.  Give me Ivan Nova, give me Freddy Garcia, give me Phil Hughes.  And if that doesn't work, then give me David Phelps, give me D.J. Mitchell, or give me Manny Banuelos.  At least then we know we'll get an honest effort and there will be a legitimate excuse for them not pitching well, and not this constant stream of fucking bullshit we get from A.J. Burnett.