AJ Burnett Shaky, Plunks 2 in Sim Game

But he did say it was a big step forward.

Via Chad Jennings:

When the Yankees setup a simulated game, they try to make everything as real as possible. It doesn’t more real than this: A.J. Burnett plunked two batters today. He got Greg Golson early, then he hit Austin Kearns late.

[snip]

Both hit batters came on two-seam fastballs that got away, and Burnett laughed about them afterward. So did Kearns, who was grazed in the upper arm. Those two pitches aside, Burnett was happy with his outing. His past few bullpen sessions had been no more than 20 pitches, and the biggest test seemed to be working with a long pitch count deep into a (simulated) game.

“Better than I thought,” Burnett said. “I ended up throwing 80-plus pitches and felt good the whole way through it. That was a big step forward I think… Curveball was great I thought today, and I threw some great changeups too. The only two that got away were the only two that hit our guys.”

No announcements have been made yet, but Burnett is most likely starting in game no. 4 of the ALCS. A lot of people are making this sound like an automatic loss, but it is possible he comes through. Even if he doesn’t, the Yankees have won World Series with pitchers who had terrible seasons taking the mound. There was Kenny Rogers in 1996 and then Denny Neagle in 2000. Neither pitched well, but the Yankees overcame bad starts both times around.

I’ve also heard some people suggest that the Yankees take the hit and start him in game no. 3 against Cliff Lee. I don’t like that either because it assumes that Lee is going to automatically beat the Yankees and that Burnett has no shot at winning game no. 4. Both are likely, but neither is a lock. Starting Burnett against Lee is as close to a lock as you can get in baseball. I’d rather have them roll the dice and take their chances.

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4 Responses to AJ Burnett Shaky, Plunks 2 in Sim Game

  1. Mike S. says:

    You never know if he'll pitch a good game or not. Look at 2006. Two people surprisingly pitched great postseason games after stinking up the regular season. Oliver Perez in Game 7 of the NLCS (even though the Mets lost the game). 6 IP, 1 R after a 3-13, 6.55 regular season for Pit/NYM. Then Anthony Reyes wins Game 1 of that year's World Series (8 IP, 2 R) after going 5-8, 5.06 in the regular season.

    I remember Jim Beattie in 1978 for the Yanks. Not as bad an ERA (3.73) but 6-9. Game 1 ALCS 5 1/3, 1 R, 2 H and a win. Game 5 of the WS a CG win. 2 runs.

    We can only hope A.J. follows the examples I listed.

  2. Mike S. says:

    I MUST add one more example, and once again, from 2006.

    The one…the only…

    Jeff Weaver.

    Angels and Cardinals. 8-14, 5.76.

    NLDS 5 IP, 0 R, 2 H and a win. NLCS 1-1, 3.09. World Series 1-1, 2.77.

  3. Jason from The Heart says:

    The Yankees announced that Hughes will start Game 2, Pettite, and Burnett Game 4. I am fine with the first and second parts, but hoped that C.C. would go on short rest for Game 4. Then again, it's asking a lot, and the Yankees might be thinking that, should they advance, C.C. could get Game 1. Hughes has been good in Texas, and Pettite is a big-game pitcher who, if faced against Lee in Game, stands a good chance.

    Burnett leaves us all shaking our heads, but is capable of a good start. He was also good at home in last year's playoffs, not to be overlooked.

  4. Jason from The Heart says:

    "…should they advance, C.C. could get Game 1" of the World Series, that is.