Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mr. Erratic aka AJ Burnett is back

Just when you thought AJ Burnett had finally shed his Mr. Erratic image, his tendencies toward wildness and inconsistency have returned.

Burnett pitched beautifully for the New York Yankees the first month of the season, compiling a 4-0 record with a miniscule 1.99 ERA. Even when he had a rough outing in mid-May against the Tampa Bay Rays, it didn't raise a lot of red flags because the Rays are a tough team. But his ERA has ballooned in the last six weeks to 4.33, rising along with his walk/hit by pitch total, and he couldn't get out of the fourth inning yesterday against a Philadelphia Phillies offense that struggled mightily coming into this series.

Now AJ has a 6-5 record, which to be honest is more reflective of his career than his early-season dominance. For me, Burnett has always been the most frustrating pitcher to watch (even more so than Javier Vazquez at the peak of his problems) because Burnett has the stuff to dominate hitters again and again. I thought he finally turned the corner this year, but clearly that's not the case. With Burnett only in the second year of a five-year deal, it seems his erratic pitching is something Yankee fans are going to have to learn to live with.

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