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Yankees fans can't just write off A.J. Burnett

Sep 28, 2010, 10:33 AM EDT

I understand why they may want to write him off, because boy howdy has he been awful.  He got shelled last night. He’s been shelled a lot this year.  While he has had some bad luck in recent starts due to weather and other things, it’s hard to argue against the notion that he has earned that 10-15 record and 5.33 ERA.

It’s a performance — combined with Phil Hughes’ nice outing on Sunday — that almost certainly means that Burnett won’t get a start in the ALDS.  The Yankees could go Sabathia-Pettitte-Hughes and use Sabathia once on short rest if need be. It’s certainly what I’d do.

But if they make it beyond the first round they pretty much have to use Burnett, because I can’t see Sabathia AND Pettitte AND Hughes going on short rest, nor can I see the Yankees as an organization using Ivan Nova over Burnett unless there is just no shot whatsoever that Burnett can throw some half-decent baseball. And while he’s been bad, he hasn’t shown that he’s utterly lost or hurt or something.

Boo him today Yankees fans because, let’s face it, he’s earned it. But you’re going to have to get behind A.J. Burnett if the team is to go deep into the postseason.  Well, maybe you don’t have to get behind him, but you’re going to have to depend on him.

  1. BC - Sep 28, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    They’re in trouble. They basically need Sabathia and Pettite to win all of their postseason starts. Hughes….. well, he’s in uncharted territory.
    They better hope the Phillies flub up in the NL playoffs if they want to win the Series.

  2. Old Gator - Sep 28, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    Nor should they write him off. They ought to hang him from the outfield flagpole by his nipple ring instead.

  3. Pisano - Sep 28, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    First of all they’re not going deep in the playoffs . Boston exposed some of they’re problems last weekend , and Texas did last time they played. They have gotten old real fast . They can’t throw out base runners, so anyone that gets on will run wild . They don’t get the big hit when they have to . Other than CC , they have no pitching . Joba is a joke , I wouldn’t have him on the roster he’s a homerun server waiting to happen . This post comes from a life long Yankee fan . They need a total overhaul in the off season . Posada , Jeter , Joba and I hate to say it Mo need to go . As much as I hate to say this, Boston as banged up as they are would be more exciting to watch than the Yankees . Sorry , but the truth hurts .

  4. Proudly Canadian - Sep 28, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    Sure they should write him off. He only pitches up to his ability in contract years. He is 110 and 100 in his career with a 3.99 ERA. The ERA is slightly inflated because his early years were spent in the NL rather than the AL East.

  5. matt - Sep 28, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    This guy is amazing. I’ve never seen anyone who can one night have absolutely unhittable stuff than the next start get rocked for 6 earned. For all the battles over whether the Yankees have a huge advantage because of their ability to spend, this guy is one of the examples why they do have a big advantage. Burnett is a major franchise altering signing by any other team and they’d be locked into him for the remainder of his contract and crippled. For the Yankees, just write him off and move on to the next greatest thing.

  6. DiamondDuq - Sep 28, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    Write him off? The guy, when he’s right, has some of the nastiest stuff in all of MLB. Granted he hasn’t been right all year but as they say, the post-season is a new season and 1 good start could right the ship for Burnett. That being said, I agree with Craig’s take that he should be relegated to relief in the ALDS but let’s be honest, the Phils and Yanks are on a collision course, they’re the class of their respective leagues. The Twins sans Morneau are simply outgunned, the Rangers lack pitching even moreso than the Yanks and top to bottom the Rays lineup needs far too many things to go right to score enough runs to win a 7-game series against the Yanks. By the time the WS comes around the Yanks would really only need 1 good game out of Burnett to balance the scales against H2O and at that point the Phils anemic offense will no longer be hidden by their stellar pitching.

  7. Professor Longnose - Sep 28, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    Just how much of a shot is there that Burnett will throw some half-decent baseball?

  8. Mark - Sep 28, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    It doesn’t even matter if AJ theoretically pitches well in the ALDS. All that matters is how good his curve his in a particular start. Everyone knows he can only throw the fastball/curve, and when his curve isn’t diving all over the place you know he’s limited to the FB.

    The reason he’s been so lousy this year is because it’s the first time his curveball has been a below average pitch. So unless AJ can figure out how to throw his curve again, they’re better off with anybody else. Cause a guy throwing 98 isn’t that effective when everybody else knows it’s coming.

  9. Ari Collins - Sep 28, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    Haha, overreact much? Mariano’s recent “troubles” have raised his ERA to 1.85 and his WHIP to 0.86.

  10. YANKEES1996 - Sep 28, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    Everyone needs to relax AJ has indeed had a rough season but he is far from the worst pitcher we have ever had. I cannot say why he has had such a rough season but I have to believe he will work it out, he still is not as bad as Pavano was! If Hughes has a bad season next year I guess we should just throw him overboard as well. I am sure Girardi and Eiland will work with AJ over the next few days to try to get him moving in the right direction, hopefully he will respond. The Yankees as team have been down over the last few weeks and have come nowhere close to playing the kind of baseball that they are capable of, if the team and AJ can get on a roll together we may see something very memorable.

  11. Utley's hair - Sep 28, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    Each one of their Big 3 were shelled in their last outings. The only one that had a half decent outing was Hughes. His outing on Sunday avoided the sweep to the BooSux.

  12. Buffalo - Sep 28, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    Put grandpa’s cough syrup down, and take the needle out of your arm NOW!!! You have fallen out of your rocking chair and need 18-24hrs to sober up from this mess you got yourself in by going out with AJ Burnett after the game last night! Now please move away from the keyboard and close your peepers and get some rest.

  13. Utley's hair - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    So, you’re saying his “inflated” ERA is because he pitched in the NL and not the AL East? When any other argument being made states that pitchers have an easier go of it in the Senior Circuit than they do in DHball?

  14. BC - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    He’s the 2010 version of Sid Fernandez.

  15. Pisano - Sep 28, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    This is not overreacting , it’s fact . No one wants the Yankees to win more than I do , but the writings on the wall . Look what Boston did to them and Texas won a game pretty much the same way , only not as wild as the Boston game . Just be prepared for an early exit (in the playoffs)for the Yankees , again as much as I hate to say it .

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