Tag Archives: aj Burnett

I’ll Miss AJ Burnett

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I'll miss the man and the pies.

Truth be told I really did like AJ Burnett.

I love what he brought to the New York Yankees organization. He was the screwball in an overly professional environment that livened everyone up that was around him and made the clubhouse a nuthouse.

He for sure wasn’t the prototypical Yankee. He had the most tats on any Yankee I’ve ever seen, he was almost never clean shaven and his shaving cream was mostly used for his infamous after game pies to the face (which I think everyone loved in N.Y.).

But that was AJ.

He gave the Yankees a new identity. At the beginning of 2009 Burnett, C.C. Sabathia & Nick Swisher were all part of a wave of newbies that came to the Bronx and turned it on its head. They were all tatted up, Mohawk wearing guys that changed the culture of the Yankees internally and made things more entertaining.

Burnett more than anybody else was the catalyst of it all. His game ending pies became a fan favorite highlight after big wins and his arm helped produce some big wins in his first season in New York.

His seven inning gem in August of 09 against the Red Sox helped keep the Sox at bay as the Yankees eventually won the AL East. His best performance came in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. After Cliff Lee put the Yankees in a one game hole Burnett came out in game 2 and pitched the game of his life to tie the series. In seven innings and with nine strikeouts Burnett flipped the World Series and turned it in the Yankees favor.

Without him the Yankees don’t win the World Series that year. That’s why I appreciate Burnett so much.

Was he maddening to watch? Absolutely. Burnett has all of the talent in the world; a top notch fastball, nasty breaking pitches and when he’s on he can be unhittable.

But when he’s bad he’s putrid.

He’s one of the wildest pitchers in the game. His location can be non existent, he can walk batters as consistently as he can throw wild pitches. Burnett mentally has never always been there. When he fails it affects him for starts at a time.

He presses too much. Once he walks a batter he panics, one walk leads to another, then another, then a hit, then a run, then before you know it Burnett is a mess and the Yankees are in trouble.

The worst case of this was last year against the White Sox. The Yankees had a 13-0 lead in the fourth inning. My buddy Mike sent me a text message saying “AJ is gonna find a way to give all 13 of those back. WATCH!” Sure enough it was 13-7 in the bottom of the fifth with two runners in scoring position and no outs when Joe Girardi pulled him.

I wanted AJ to succeed so badly because he was just a great dude and those memories of 09 were still fresh in my brain… But he made me and all Yankees fans want to kill him. When Burnett pitched I don’t think there was one Yankees fan who didn’t have a bottle of Jack Daniels next to them because you needed it to watch him.

The pitching coaches couldn’t fix him and he sure as hell couldn’t do it himself. In the end in order for the Yankees to have a shot at winning another title they had to get rid of one of the main catalysts to its last title.

Trading Burnett was the right thing to do in the long run for the Yankees. One of the Yankees weaknesses last year was its rotation and after acquiring Michael Pineda and Hideki Kuroda they seem to have fixed their problems (at least on paper). After the two additions there was no room for Burnett and his end was seemingly eminent.

Now he’s gone and he’s taken his pies with him.

As maddening as he was I really like AJ. Pittsburgh is gonna love his antics, the way he brings guys close together and how he livens up the clubhouse.

Hopefully it’s pitching coaches can keep him focused and on point and Burnett can put together some good seasons. The guy deserves it.

Sure he couldn’t find the plate if he tried in stretches and was wildly erratic… but AJ Burnett helped the Yankees win a World Series and made life fun for all in the process.

That more than outweighs all the other stuff.


Random Thoughts Vol. 3

OH GOD THERE'S MORE?!?!

Beginning of the month, been watching a lot of sports… yep, it’s time for another round of random thoughts.

Fernando Torres has scored one goal since being acquired by Chelsea in January… one. I always pick the best teams to follow don’t I?

The Yankees wouldn’t trade for Ubaldo Jimenez due to concerns about his velocity. In a possible trade the Rockies would’ve wanted Ivan Nova as part of the deal… Jimenez hasn’t made it past the 5th inning in 3 of his 7 starts with the Indians, Nova hasn’t lost since June… I think Cashman got that one right.

Losing to a FCS school should be like relegation in soccer shouldn’t it? Hi Oregon State.

Me at 8:30 pm last Saturday of the Boise State-Georgia game: “those Georgia uniforms are hideous.”

Me 48 hours  while watching the Maryland-Miami game: “those are the worst uniforms I have ever seen.”

Nyjer Morgan called Albert Pujols “Alberta,” does he realize Pujols is 4 inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than him?

Oregon State should probably leave this out of the recruiting package.

Baylor is mad that Texas A&M is leaving the Big 12 and possibly breaking up the conference leaving them in football limbo. Somewhere Rice, TCU and SMU are uttering to themselves karma is a mother.

Wait a minute, Kevin Durant has tattoos?

At least David Garrard and Byron Leftwich have something in common to be mad about.

The way that analysts were criticizing his QB skills you would’ve swore Tim Tebow was black.

Appalachian wants to join the FBS… after getting drubbed 66-13 by Virginia Tech they should reconsider.

Tom Brady said he would welcome back Randy Moss with open arms. I’m not saying that’s in some way related to Chad Ochocinco… but I’m saying.

So if John Isner wins the U.S. Open is his career a bigger success than Andy Roddick’s?

Utah State almost beat Auburn, BYU beat Ole Miss, and Utah beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl years ago… maybe the SEC should stop playing teams from Utah.

Stephen Strasburg’s back, and he looks good.

(honestly it didn’t matter if the Nats lost that game or not, all that mattered was if Strasburg looked like he was the same pitcher he was before he left or not and he was. His movement and velocity were pretty darn good, he made everything look effortless and dominated a decent Dodgers lineup. If I’m the Nats and I look at a rotation with Strasburg, a rejuvenated Chien-Ming Wang, Jordan Zimmerman and John Lannon at bats like Ryan Zimmerman and Mike Morse then I’m feeling good about next year. that is if Jayson Werth can hit with that $18 million per year salary on his back.)

That Carlos Beltran deal isn’t working out so well for the Giants… shocker.

Who’s the next program to get stung by the NCAA? I’ll take South Carolina.

I’m still blinded by Maryland’s uniforms.

TIki Barber is shocked that no one threw him a bone this offseason. I mean who wouldn’t want a 36 year-old running back that hasn’t played in 5 years with tons of public baggage?

Ndamukong Suh is not dirty, he’s just playing football the way Deacon Jones would like.

It might be time for Tiger Woods to consider new career options.

This hasn't gone exactly as planned.

I will not talk about A.J. Burnett, I will not talk about A.J. Burnett, I will not talk about A.J. Burnett.

Aaron Rodgers called out Mark Sanchez for his GQ pictures. What can Sanchez respond with? Rodgers just won a Super Bowl he can say what he wants.

I think we might actually have a season without Brett Favre.

I have a feeling Luke Fickell might be more conservative than Jim Tressel.

By the way, how does Tressel get a six game suspension from the NFL for his NCAA violations?

(Goodell needs to keep college problems in college. Their penalties don’t transfer to the NFL. Tressel quit/ got fired by the Ohio State University so his 5 game suspension is pretty much obliterated. The fact that Tressel and Terrelle Pryor for that matter have carry over suspensions from college shows that maybe Goodell has too much power when it come to these disciplinary actions and should some of that power stripped. And it will be… in ten years with a new CBA. Good job NFLPA.)

Doesn’t it seem like Lance Briggs and the Bears have been beefing since 2006?

Apparently the NBA is making strides to getting a CBA done real soon. How does Wilson Chandler feel about that?

If the Philadelphia Phillies don’t win the World Series it would be a Greek tragedy.

I have a few choice words for how the Baltimore Orioles handled the makeup games with the New York Yankees and the results of those games. I can’t say them on this blog but I’ll let your mind wander.

After all of the controversy surrounding Ohio State this year how do three more players get suspended for taking benefits? I should’ve went to Ohio University.

I expected more from the Winnipeg Jets jerseys.

Mike Fisher you lucky son of a gun.

At least they weren’t Maryland’s.

(you know what’s even scarier than what we witnessed on Monday night? There are more than 12 color combinations that Under Armour has in store for this year. Under Armour is based in Baltimore, Maryland and I guess they are doing to the Terps what Nike did to the Oregon Ducks… except Oregon’s outfits look extremely cool. Oregon’s designs have flair and eye popping designs, Maryland’s are a horror show. There was way too much of the Maryland flag for any human being to take. A message to UA: emulation is the sincerest form of flattery but leave the flashy stuff to Oregon. By the way Maryland’s football team is going to make some noise this year and you should pay more attention to Danny O’Brian than his jersey.)

What Ana Ivonivic could’ve been.

Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly broke up… hide your girlfriends New York.

NHL training camps start this week…

That mean we’re a month a away from Rachel McAdams shots at Vancouver games and Carrie Underwood at Predators games.

God I love hockey.


Nova In And Burnett Out Should Be The Call For The Yankees

Ivan Nova has more than proven that he should be in the Yankees rotation.

This is not rocket science. This should not be a hard decision.

If Joe Girardi is smart then here is what he should do about his current pitching problem… pencil Ivan Nova in and take A.J. Burnett out.

It’s simple mathematics really, Nova has been stellar since being called back up from AAA Wilkes-Barre and he was on his way to stellar even before then.

Nova has won 6 consecutive starts dating back to June. He hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs in any of those starts. What’s even more impressive is that with each start Nova is getting better and better.

Since his return Nova has allowed 3 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings of work. He has turned into the Yankees second best pitcher and despite his youth he has looked like a ten-year vereran on the mound with his poise and unshakeable attitude.

The same can not be said for Burnett.

As much as I love Burnett and his pie antics and loveable locker room personality he is not fit for this team as a starter right now.

With Burnett it’s all mental. When he’s throwing strikes and his pitches have movement Burnett could be a top 2 pitcher in any rotation. However, he can’t get there because he is too inconsistent.

Burnett looked like a gem in April going 4-1 and not allowing more than 4 earned runs in any outing. Since then? He’s 4-8 and has had more than a few moments where fans have been screaming bloody murder for Girardi to remove him.

Take for instance Wednesday night; the Yankees are up 13-1… 13-1 with Burnett on the hill in the fourth inning. With that type of lead you should be fine as a pitcher, no big deal. Fast forward to the bottom of the fifth and it’s 13-7 with one out and two in scoring position. I was actually concerned that Burnett was going to blow it because he looked like a batting practice pitcher by leaving all of his pitches high and flat.

Something's gotta give when it comes to A.J. Burnett.

Girardi mercifully removed him and Cory Wade got out of the jam. Now the Yankees did win 18-7, but the story was still Burnett couldn’t even pitch well enough to earn a Win with a 12 run lead.

Funny thing is that this isn’t unusual, this is just how unreliable Burnett truly is.

(Side note: I can’t watch Burnett pitch anymore it’s too scary. Even when I see him penciled in I get the shakes. Watching Burnett is slow torture because, he reels you in with his fastball and makes you put your guard down. Then over the next few batters and innings he leaves balls up, gets out of jams that he causes, allows hit after hit, then there’s a shot of Girardi trying to let him work through it and encourage him while internally he’s probably going “you’re giving me hemeroids A.J.,” then either A.J. completely implodes or Girardi pulls him out just in the nick of time.

I swear Hostel 2 or any of the Saw movies are easier to watch than Burnett at this point.)

Coming down the stretch the Yankees need consistency in the rotation and Girardi needs to go with the hot hand and keep Nova in the rotation as well as Phil Hughes who has looked sharp in his return from arm troubles.

Nova is the Yankees second best pitcher behind C.C. Sabathia. As long as they don’t screw with his arm like they’ve done with their other young and talented pitchers Joba Chamberlain and to an extent Hughes (or trade him like Ian Kennedy… Excuse me while i vomit) then Nova should finish the year getting stronger with each start.

The Yankees can depend on Nova, they can’t depend on Burnett. Which is why by this time next week Joe Girardi’s rotation should be Sabathia, Colon, Nova, Garcia and Hughes and A.J. Burnett should be on the bench.

It’s the best move for the Yankees, and it makes everyone involved less stressed not knowing what to expect from one of it’s starters.


Hughes’s Arm Raises Big Questions For The Yankees

And now the first big issue to the Yankees pitching question mark has arrived.

Phil Hughes's arm problems are not what the Yankees pitching staff needs right now.

Phil Hughes has no arm.

Through three starts this season Hughes has been beaten around like a piñata. He’s allowed 15 earned runs and hasn’t made it out of the fifth inning in any of his three starts.

Why you ask? He has no arm right now. His velocity that topped out at 93 last year on his fastball is only popping the mitts at 89 this year. His breaking balls have no movement and are getting tattooed by everyone. He’s as flat as flat can get and for the Yankees, a team who was counting on him to basically be C.C. Sabathia’s sidekick, this is the worst possible news.

Now the pitching is really thin in new York as they try to figure out what’s wrong with Hughes and put together a rotation filled with ifs and maybes.

Kevin Millwood and Bartolo Colon were acquired as possible spot starters and neither have looked impressive in their outings.

Millwood has been getting tattooed in the minor leagues and Colon has given up 7 earned runs in his three relief appearances. We’ve also yet to see Freddy Garcia this year and Sergio Mitre was dealt before the season began.

Um, paging Andy Pettite, paging Andy Pettite.

GM Brian Cashman is saying that they won’t be making a deal for a pitcher anytime soon, but they have to do something. Maybe it’s time to bring up first round draft pick Andrew Brackman who is ready to roll by all accounts, or Manny Banuelos.

Banuelos was the talk of spring training and though the Yankees were hesitant to bring him up he’s ready to come in according to most scouts.

Whoever it is, the Yankees have to do something. Sure it’s only the second week of the year and the Yankees are in first place, but this could be a long-lasting problem that could do the Yankees in.

The Yankees have to either find out what’s wrong with Hughes and fix it or find his replacement. Because right now its C.C., and A.J. Burnett carrying the weight and that wont cut it.

Plus, how long do we all expect A.J. Burnett to keep pitching decently? Yep, exactly.