Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Meet The New A.J. Same as the Old A.J.
A.J. Burnett entered last night’s game with a fine 3.38 ERA. After blowing a 5-1 lead by surrendering five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning that’s now up to 3.99.
I was optimistic about Burnett after his spring training, primarily because he appeared to have much better control. To this point in the season that hasn’t really been the case.
Here’s how Burnett’s peripheral stats looked heading into last night’s game and his average projected peripherals pro-rated to the same # of innings.
The primary difference here was the 12 hit difference. While there are certainly pitchers who show the ability to induce weak contact and get fewer hits allowed than average, Burnett’s not someone who’s ever demonstrated that. Because of that, expecting him to continue to pitch as effectively as he has prior to last night was not realistic unless he improved his walk rate or strike out rate.
Instead, Burnett decided to start his correction. Here’s how his actual performance and projections compare now.
Burnett’s really not the reason the Yankees lost last night. Although he was only around 80 pitches when he lost it, Joe Girardi was probably still to slow to go to the bullpen. He probably should have had someone warming after the first two hitters in the sixth doubled and homered so that Burnett wasn’t left in to face another five hitters.
Girardi’s really not the reason the Yankees lost last night either.
When the Yankees signed Rafael Soriano, I figured it was a stupid move because it was an overpay for someone who was good, but not really necessary. Instead, what’s happened is the Yankees are paying a ridiculous amount of money and gave up a draft pick for a high-maintenance player who has made them worse. In addition to his own horrible pitching, he’s held a roster spot despite not being able to pitch more often than not. This has necessitated the Yankees using their other relievers more frequently, which then restricts their availability. This has too often put the team in a position where they’re playing with a 22 or 23 man roster.
It’s meant trying to extend starters a bit longer than they should have been, and using weaker relievers in high leverage spots.
I don’t know how many games it’s cost them, but I’m pretty sure it’s cost them some. It almost certainly cost them last night’s game, as Girardi sat on his hands while watching Burnett give up the lead because he didn’t want to go to a short bullpen.
Truth be told though, the real reason I have been so against the Soriano signing is that I bought this set of knee pads in anticipation of the time when I’d be kneeling before him, and now I can’t return them. Does anyone want to buy a pair of un-usued knee pads?
The Yankees need to stop dicking around with Soriano and either put him on the DL or pitch him. As it is now he’s actively hurting the team even when he’s not able to blow the leads himself.
Whoever was behind the Soriano signing should be fired.
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