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Except for one clunker start A.J. Burnett has been dominant for the Pirates

May 31, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates Getty Images

A.J. Burnett‘s overall numbers are plenty good, as last night’s seven innings of one-run ball versus the Reds lowered his ERA to 3.60 in 50 innings.

However, one terrible start against the Cardinals on May 2 accounts for 60 percent of the earned runs Burnett has allowed all season. Seriously.

He coughed up 12 runs in 2.2 innings versus St. Louis that day and if you remove that ugly outing from his season totals Burnett has a 1.52 ERA and 40/13 K/BB ratio in 47 innings while holding opponents to a .208 batting average.

That one ugly start still happened, of course, so completely ignoring it would be silly, but considering how disappointing he was for the Yankees and how many people wrote him off as washed up Burnett deserves some attention. And the Pirates are looking plenty smart for taking him off the Yankees’ hands for pennies on the dollar.

  1. plummer2512 - May 31, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    He reeked of a guy that needed a change of environment. Some players can’t cut it in New York and he seemed to be one. I always thought he was a good pitcher with really good stuff. I hope he continues to do well.

    • danaking - May 31, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      Could well be. I always heard he was a real pain to get along with, but the younger pitchers on the Pirates seem to love him. So far it’s a win-win-win for Pittsburgh. (Pitching – attitude – (not a lot of) money)

    • mybrunoblog - May 31, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      Absolutely zero pressure on Burnett now. He is a bit of a head case. Always had great stuff just couldn’t make it work.

      • nategearhart - May 31, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        I HATE that whole notion of playing for a small market and/or poor-performing team means there’s no pressure.

  2. dan1111 - May 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    It seemed like a good chance for the Pirates to take–a lot more upside than some other recent moves. They actually have quite a respectable pitching staff now. Too bad about their offense, though.

    • florida76 - May 31, 2012 at 5:16 PM

      The Pirates pitching is much more than respectable, it’s terrific, with one of the lowest team ERAs in the NL, and a great closer in Hanrahan. The offense has struggled, but the game has changed to where you don’t need a strong offense to win. With continued quality pitching and decent offense, this team is a threat in the NL Central. No team in that division appears to be strong enough to pull away from the pack. Much stranger things have happened.

      It’s laughable reading comments about pressure and how the Bucs would be dealing at the deadline. Fact is, barring a total collapse, the Bucs will be buyers again at the deadline.

  3. mybrunoblog - May 31, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Wait a second. AJ Burnett is pitching well? What was that the Mayans were saying about 2012?

  4. randall351 - May 31, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    And except for that one 12 game losing streak the Royals would have a good record this year.

    I hate that Revisionist look at sports stats, records, etc.

    Except for that one game they lost the 2007 Patriots had a perfect season.

    Lame sauce.

    • napoleonblownapart6887 - May 31, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      Those comparisons are ludicrous – a 12 losing streak to one bad outing? The proportions are completely different. He’s pitched 47 innings this year where he’s been stellar. He’s pitched 2.2 where he got rocked. Also, referring to a Super Bowl as “that one game”

      The irony of YOUR revisionist look, or at least your lack of perspective, is staggering. It also destroys your argument… To use language you’re more familiar with – your argument is lame sauce.

      • randall351 - May 31, 2012 at 2:30 PM

        The mere fact that you see my comparisons has ludicrous was the point. It is ludicrous to say “well except for that …”
        As far as proportions being completely different 2.2 innings out of 47 is 4.6% where as 12 games out of 163 is 7.4% and 1 game out of 19 is 5.3% so actually the proportions are pretty close.
        But that’s not really the point of my argument, if you can really call it an argument, I would more call it …what’s the word.. oh yeah my opinion.

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - May 31, 2012 at 2:51 PM

        12 games out of 163? They’ve played 59 games… they’ve lost almost 20% of their games in that stretch. Secondly, you can’t list the Super Bowl as “just another game” It’s THE Game. It’s like saying Texas has lost a couple of series to NL teams in October/November recently.. completely different thing to say. So no, the proportions are different.

        Secondly, by defending the proportions, you completely turn on what you said in the first two lines of this post – that somehow the silliness of the comparisons was the basis of your opinion? Which is it? That the ridiculous nature of the comparison proves your point, or that the proportions are similar and thus the comparisons are NOT ludicrous.

        Either way, I respect a difference of opinion – as Aaron points out you simply can’t just ignore the bad start. What irked me about your post is that you’re assigning value to the bad start beyond what is reasonable via your comparisons.

      • burghman - May 31, 2012 at 3:14 PM

        Yeah, that’s some peculiar math. If you’re going to project out to 163 games for the Royals’ whole season, you also need to project out total # of innings to be pitched by Burnett for the whole season. One bad outing is an “anomaly”; 12 consecutive losses is a “streak”.

        No arguing that Burnett laid a turd in that St. Louis game, but there’s also no arguing that his other outings have been much stronger and likely a better indicator of the remaining season.

        If you were going to *try* to make the same argument for the Royals, you could try saying that except for that 12 game losing streak, they’re 21-16, which is a .568 win percentage, and in most divisions, that puts them at or near the top.

  5. royalbluepursasion - May 31, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    I’m so happy the one start I had him for was that one!

  6. vallewho - May 31, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    I’m happy for AJ. It was always frustrating watching him implode on the mound.

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