Of A.J. Burnett, Scope Rifles, and Compasses That Face North
I am at a complete loss with regard to A.J. Burnett's display of incredulous mayhem and uncontrolled devastation last night against the pathetically insipid Toronto Blue Jays...
This is to say, I WOULD hate him with the fire and passion of a thousand suns...but the time for that has come and gone. The depth of emotions welling up from my USUALLY WILLING TO FORGIVE AND FORGET, heart...has evolved into TODAY'S COMPLETE DISGUST AND WILLNGNESS TO ASPHYXIATE, heart. Hate is ineffective. Strangulation would suffice...
However, strangulation might require a step-ladder, 6 minutes alone with A.J., and, if successful, might eventually involve local and/or federal authorities. We have already clearly established, months ago, my predisposition toward authority figures. Me no likey.
Thus...back to the proverbial drawing board: There is a problem. There is no solution.
I don't care much for entertaining the concept of unsolvable problems.
...not where my best interest is concerned...
It is in my best interest not to be entwined with losers and defeat. It is in my best interest for my team to play well. I do not care much for losers and defeat. I would rather stab myself in the eye with a dull end of a half chewed pencil than sit patiently, while delusionally believing defeat is acceptable. It is not.
I consider such defeatest metalities to be rooted in defeatest hypotheses. Such hypoteses are repugnant, egregious, detestible, and just flat out annoyingly borderlining on flagrant Loserdom.
I would never rent an inch of space in Loserdom. I believe solutions exist to all problematic situations. I also believe some problematic situations indicate the need to run, don't walk...and to dust one's feet off from the Loserdom origin to which the problem initially existed. And after said running from said problematic situation, to gleefully kick one's heels in the air while realizing the liberation from said problematic situation...for...even escape can be seen as a profitable solution.
However, there is no escaping A.J....nor his portrayal as Home Run Derby Pitcher for the All-Star Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium last night.
This problematic situation is not one where escape and gleeful dust-flinging is possible.
The blood-letting to Canadia is over. I hope...
Yet, when a pitcher grants as many runs in ONE INNING as they gave up in the ENTIRE MONTH OF JULY, one must assume a problem is, indeed, at hand.
When a pitcher can sport a 1.99 ERA on May 4th, 2010 and a mere MONTH LATER (June 4th, 2010) enter into a downward spiril of losing EACH AND EVERY GAME (6/4; 6/10; 6/16; 6/21; 6/26; 7/2) one might seriously consider thinking about making a decision as to whether a problem is or is not at hand.
Said problem is at hand. Said problem is one which must be addressed. Said addressing of said problem should be swift and precise. Perhaps mercilessly addressed. I believe this seemingly inconsistent, yet, continual problem of defeat at the hands of A.J. Burnett must be met squarely in the middle of the forehead with the precision of a laser from a scope rifle... equipped with automatic bullet drop compensation, AccuPoint telescopic sights, and Kill Flash filters.
For...the problem with A.J. Burnett may be such that any reasonable and valid solution may seem too evasive or elusive...
But I like to think of the possibility of problem-apprehension.
Like a bank robber, reckessly careening a stolen get-away vehicle down the Pacific Coast Highway while blasting Anthrax's "Metal Thrashing Mad," we must stop this problem by PIT Maneuver...grab the skanky little felon by 4-point restraints and inject us some halcyion on said problem and make the problem do as we say. No Mirandizing. No lawyers necessary. No Bail. Comply. Or else...
In 2007, the Yankees witnessed a similar situation involving a 5-time All Star, 7-time Gold Glove winning pitcher; Mike Mussina. During that season, many similarities we presently enounter with A.J. Burnett, we encountered with Moose. Consistent inconsistency was what we, as fans, grew to expect, know, and endure. By August 27th of that year, Moose had allowed 32 runs in 3 starts and the Brass got upset. It was decided that Moose would be sent down, lose his slot in the rotation, and work through his mechanics. Or else.
The Yankees raised up a (then) unsmarmy and quite effective kid known as Ian Kennedy, (presently with the Arizona Diamondbacks, thank God.)
When Moose returned on September 12, 2007, (after 1 stint of relief pitching...the only time in his career he had ever thrown as a reliever) Moose was from thence forward: GOOD MOOSE.
In 2008 Mike Mussina went on to amass 20 wins in one season, having never accomplished that feat within his 18 seasons as a pitcher. We fans look upon those shaky weeks back in 07 with Kennedy slotted in place of Moose with ironic recollect...one of relief...one of disappointment...and ultimately one of gratitude. For even Moose, himself, admitted his need to address his own mental hurdles of personality, temperance, and his temendous need fora dose of humility. The very Drain-O required to empower, again, a phenominal pitcher who had seemingly imploded after 17 seasons...
Is this scenario plausible or even reasonable for our present-day A.J.? Is A.J. Burnett requiring some sending down to work on mechanics? And if we were to send A.J. down, is there a Kennedy to raise up?
A.J.'s velocity is consistent with his career numbers involving his fastballs and sinkers. Inasmuch as his strike out rates are down, his walks are consistent with his career numbers. If mechanics or injury were suspect, velocity would be effected. It isn't. He is still commanding his fastballs and sinkers...so what gives? He had a 1.99 ERA on May 4th, but presently has a 4.93. WHAT IS UP? Of his 5 starts in April, he lost 1; May outings yielded 4 wins of 6 games started...and then June he lost all 5 starts...July 2nd he went out 6.2 innings, allowed ZERO runs...and went on to win 4 more starts in July, allowing only 7 runs all month...so, yesterday he gives up 7 runs in the 5th inning...???
After his previous outing of July 17, 2010, where he was yanked off the mound after just 2 innings...he went on to explain to the media that he had cut his hands pretending to be Kevin Brown with the clubhouse doors in between the 1st and 2nd inning. This was after lying to his team and manager about cutting himself shaving. Uhm: Red Flag?
Oddly, I haven't heard any excuses for last night's fireworks blasting off the icky bats of 11.5 games behind us: Toronto...
Bottom line is: Last night's shelling of 7 runs in 1 inning...and A.J.'s 6 consecutive losses of June are, indeed, of serious concern. If A.J. performs this way in September and simply hands us a month of losses, what will become of the season? Is there a solution? Is there a problem?
The only possible "Kennedy's," at triple-A Scranton have been on the chopping block for trade fodder. Ivan Nova and Zach McAllister were main candidates for the Danny Haren acquisition. The Brass has been willing to use Nova, but tonight we are handing the game over to Dustin Moseley and his 3.24 ERA. Why would we skim past using Nova or McAllister who clearly have more innings and better ERA's? Because we don't want them to go all Tyler Clippard on us and become worthless to any team looking for major league level pitching, that's why.
So now what? Trust A.J.? Audition kids? Don't forget, we are limiting Phil's hughes innings. Will Sabathia and Vasquez be able to hold the whole house of cards together?
And...I theorize...this is where the hate-of-a-thousand-suns comes in. A.J. Burnett and his $84-million arm had better get a compass and figure out which way is North. If Tampa Bay can amass consistent performances by 5 children earning a total of $9.1-million dollars and match our season of wins and losses...then shame on us for once again assuming more is better.
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