You hear it all of the time. AJ Burnett has "electric stuff." Well, we also know that there is a short in the wiring because he just can't maintain any semblance of consistency.
Coming off of his best month in July Burnett set the Jays down in order in the first inning Monday night, gave up a cheap Yankee Stadium special solo homer to Vernon Wells in the second, and was fairly steady in putting up zeroes in the third and fourth. But the fifth? It was a night to forget. But, as Yankee fans we can't do that.
Just about everything that Burnett threw in the fifth was hit hard, squared up on the barrel of the Jays' bats. When Burnett was lifted after 41 pitches and getting just two outs he was tagged for an incredible FIVE doubles and a laser 2-run homer in the second deck of left field by Edwin Encarnacion. Mix in a wild pitch and a walk and it was curtains.
Post-game thoughts from Burnett said he didn't have his hook and he cannot pitch effectively without the good breaking ball. He also said that he lost the sink in his sinker. If the Yankees are to continue to slug it out in the standings with Tampa Bay they are going to need Burnett to come up with both of those pitches.
It's more than just a mild concern when the team tied with the best record in baseball has their #2 starter in the rotation as a .500 pitcher (9-9) and his ERA has elevated to just shy of 5.00. For those who like to count beans, the Steinbrenner family, Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi, et al, are not getting even close to their money's worth from Burnett with his $16.5 million salary. The team now tied with the Yanks in first place, Tampa Bay...you could pay for their entire starting rotation with Burnett's money AND get $7.5 million in change!
Burnett handled the post-game interviews well and said all of the right things. But, it's time for all involved to get this talented, yet tremendously inconsistent, pitcher straightened out or Joe Girardi will not have to change his jersey number for the 2011 season.