Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yankees can't trust erratic AJ in key game

With AJ Burnett tentatively scheduled to start Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, Games 1, 2 and 3 become critical for the New York Yankees.

Joe Girardi is in a really bad spot in this round of the playoffs. He can't ask a young Phil Hughes and an older, injury-plagued Andy Pettitte to go on short rest just because Burnett is unreliable. Yet, he and the Yankees can't trust Burnett to have a good outing because they have no clue which AJ will show up on the mound. Girardi and pitching coach Dave Eiland are trying to publicly muster up as much confidence as they can in Burnett, citing his solid outings during last year's playoffs. But Burnett has been a different guy this year, frustrated and uncertain on and off the baseball field.

The ideal outcome for the Yankees is to win two if not all three of the first games to ensure that AJ is not put in a high-pressure situation. Because if it comes down to Burnett pitching a must-win game, the Yankees don't have much of a chance.

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