A.J. Burnett allowed four runs in the first inning and never settled in as he gave up eight earned runs and the Yankees lost 9-4 in the first game of a three game series against the Chicago White Sox.
Here are some notes:
- Since May 9th, the Yankees are 6-14 when Burnett starts. His numbers during that stretch: 20 G, 110.2 IP, 52 BB, 85 SO, 6.34 ERA.
- It’s possible that Burnett could lose his spot in the rotation.
- Buster Olney expects Andy Pettitte back by September 15th at the earliest.
- Alfredo Aceves made a rehab appearance in Triple-A last night, his line: 1.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO.
- Lance Berkman has begun taking ground balls. He should be back by September 1st.
- I missed this one yesterday, but MLB is investigating whether Ivan Nova in connection to a B-12 shot he might have had administered by his minor league teammate, Wilkin De La Rosa.
So, Burnett sucks. Everyone has been talking about it. When he’s good, he has control of his fastball, gets ahead in counts, and uses his curveball to put batters away. When he is bad, he has poor control of his fastball, falls behind in counts, and then his curveball is much less effective because batters are smart enough to lay off it when the count is in their favor. When he’s bad, he’s not just bad, he’s terrible because he is so desperate to get ahead in the count that he lays pitches in there and they catch too much of the plate and are entirely too hittable. That’s the story.
The big problem is that the Yankees need him. People have been talking about Pettitte all week and how important it is for him to be healthy and pitch for the Yankees in the playoffs. Well, Burnett is probably equally important and if he doesn’t have control of his fastball in the playoffs he’s going to put the Yankees in a big hole come October.
What can they do about him? Not much that they haven’t already been doing. At the very least I’d like to see him skip a start and work with pitching coach Dave Eiland for a week straight to try to smooth out his mechanics. That should at least give him the best opportunity to be successful during the stretch and into the playoffs.