When A.J. Burnett takes the mound for the Yankees, all I feel now is apathy. I used to get angry and curse at the TV (or radio), but I just can’t anymore. I’ve let the water fill my lungs. If the Yankee brain trust isn’t going to attempt to fix the situation, then why should I care?
After A.J.’s latest debacle, um, I mean, start, he said his performance was “not acceptable.” An understatement, not just because he gave up nine runs through five innings and not just because this comes on the heel’s of his last “worst performance ever” when he gave up seven runs in two innings, but because this has pretty much been the norm since June.
Burnett now has a season ERA that is higher than last year’s (5.31). That ERA has been trending upward each month. Since the beginning of July, it was 7.79, and in the month of August, it is a whopping 11.91. That’s a lot of games for the Yankees to throw away. They sit just a game out of first place, but imagine if Burnett had actually won a few of those starts? (Yeah, I know he actually had a win two starts ago.)
No one seems to have any answers as to why Burnett, a once number-two starter, looks like he’s ready for the glue factory. Of course, his veteran status and his $82.5 contract mean he’s not going to get sent down to the minors to figure it out any time soon. That contract also means that the Yankees aren’t going to be able to flip him to another team for a “change of scenery,” second-chance trade.
Instead, manager Joe Girardi sits there after every bad start defending his pitcher and ensuring Yankee fans he’s going to keep throwing Burnett out there to stink up the mound. It promises to only get worse since his next start is Wednesday against Boston.
I understand to a degree why Girardi needs to defend his player, but showing confidence in his abilities (or lack there of) doesn’t seem to be helping the situation. It’s time to bench him and bring up one of the kids (could they pitch any worse than him?), or find an injury (players always have nagging ailments) so Burnett can work on whatever the problem(s) is in Tampa.
Until they do, the Bombers can count on watching their deficit to Boston grow. They can also count on fans tuning out when it’s Burnett’s turn to pitch.