Same old AJ, just a little worse this year

DATE OPP RESULT IP H R ER HR BB SO GB FB PIT BF GSc DEC REL ERA*
Aug 27 @CHW L 9-4 3.1 8 9 8 0 3 3 10 4 81 21 10 L(9-12) - 5.17
Aug 20 SEA L 6-0 7.0 12 6 6 2 3 4 12 15 122 34 30 L(9-11) - 4.80
Aug 15 @KC L 1-0 8.0 4 1 1 0 3 6 8 11 103 29 73 L(9-10) - 4.66
Aug 10 @TEX L 4-3 7.0 6 3 3 1 2 4 9 14 112 29 55 - - 4.87
Aug 2 TOR L 8-6 4.2 8 8 8 2 2 4 9 8 95 24 18 L(9-9) - 4.93
Monthly Totals 30.0 38 27 26 5 13 21 48 52 513 137 0-4 0 sv 7.80
DATE OPP RESULT IP H R ER HR BB SO GB FB PIT BF GSc DEC REL ERA*
Jul 28 @CLE W 8-0 6.1 7 0 0 0 3 7 9 7 114 26 63 W(9-8) - 4.52
Jul 23 KC W 7-1 5.0 4 0 0 0 1 3 6 8 58 18 61 W(8-8) - 4.77
Jul 17 TB L 10-5 2.0 4 4 4 1 0 1 2 8 43 13 33 L(7-8) - 4.99
Jul 7 @OAK W 6-2 7.0 5 2 2 0 2 3 11 11 110 27 60 W(7-7) - 4.75
Jul 2 TOR L 6-1 6.2 4 0 0 0 3 6 6 11 106 27 69 - - 4.90
Monthly Totals 27.0 24 6 6 1 9 20 34 45 431 111 3-1 0 sv 2.00
DATE OPP RESULT IP H R ER HR BB SO GB FB PIT BF GSc DEC REL ERA*
Jun 26 @LAD L 9-4 3.0 6 6 6 0 6 5 4 5 79 20 22 L(6-7) - 5.25
Jun 21 @ARI L 10-4 4.0 9 7 7 3 2 4 6 11 91 23 18 L(6-6) - 4.83
Jun 16 PHI L 6-3 3.1 6 6 6 2 4 3 4 9 87 21 23 L(6-5) - 4.33
Jun 10 @BAL L 4-3 6.2 8 4 4 1 1 5 9 14 95 31 46 L(6-4) - 3.86
Jun 4 @TOR L 6-1 6.0 6 6 6 3 4 2 9 12 103 27 34 L(6-3) - 3.72
Monthly Totals 23.0 35 29 29 9 17 19 32 51 455 122 0-5 0 sv 11.35
DATE OPP RESULT IP H R ER HR BB SO GB FB PIT BF GSc DEC REL ERA*
May 30 CLE W 7-3 8.0 5 3 1 0 0 8 10 11 115 31 72 W(6-2) - 3.28
May 25 @MIN W 1-0 5.0 3 0 0 0 2 5 9 4 75 20 64 W(5-2) - 3.55
May 19 TB L 10-6 6.2 9 6 6 1 4 4 11 13 116 33 32 L(4-2) - 3.86
May 14 MIN W 8-4 6.2 7 3 2 1 4 4 14 7 100 29 50 - - 3.31
May 9 @BOS L 9-3 4.1 9 9 8 1 3 4 9 10 97 26 12 L(4-1) - 3.40
May 4 BAL W 4-1 7.1 5 1 0 0 2 8 10 9 107 29 72 W(4-0) - 1.99
Monthly Totals 38.0 38 22 17 3 15 33 63 54 610 168 3-2 0 sv 4.03
DATE OPP RESULT IP H R ER HR BB SO GB FB PIT BF GSc DEC REL ERA*
Apr 29 @BAL W 4-0 8.0 3 0 0 0 1 4 12 11 116 28 79 W(3-0) - 2.43
Apr 23 @LAA L 6-4 6.1 9 4 4 0 2 3 14 8 103 29 40 - - 3.20
Apr 17 TEX W 7-3 7.0 6 0 0 0 2 7 11 8 111 28 70 W(2-0) - 2.37
Apr 11 @TB W 7-3 7.0 6 2 2 0 3 1 9 14 92 27 55 W(1-0) - 3.75
Apr 6 @BOS W 6-4 5.0 7 4 3 1 1 5 5 11 94 23 43 - - 5.40
Monthly Totals 33.1 31 10 9 1 9 20 51 52 516 135 3-0 0 sv 2.43
IP H R ER HR BB SO GB FB PIT BF AGS W-L S-BS-H ERA
Totals 151.1 166 94 87 19 63 113 228 254 2525 673 46 9-12 0-0-0 5.17

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Peruse Allen James Burnett’s 2010 game log if you dare. May 9th seems like an eternity ago, when he entered his start in Baltimore with a 1.99 ERA and looked every bit the pitcher who graduated from the ‘school of Halladay’ that the Yanks thought he was when they signed him back in 2008. Since that early dominance, the ERA has climbed steadily. He hasn’t had a win since the end of July, but W/L doesn’t tell you anything about how he’s pitched. It seems like he hasn’t had a good game in forever, but he actually had 2 quality starts in August and was outstanding in July (2.00 ERA) and April (2.43 ERA) this year. But his horrendous June (11.35 ERA) and bad August (7.80) have left fans expecting the worst from him, and all too often he’s delivered. Though it’s not all that dissimilar to his 09 campaign, where he had a good June (2.10 ERA) and July (2.43 ERA) and a bad August (6.03 ERA).

When looking at a pitcher like AJs game log, I prefer to just pull out the real clunkers, the games where he really didn’t give his team a chance to win. Starts where a pitcher gives up 4 runs or less on a team like the Yanks that has scored 679 runs (5.35 per game) has done his job and kept his team in the game. In 2010, Burnett has given up 5 or more runs a whopping 9 times in 26 starts, or just under 1/3 of the time. On this date in 2009 and 2008, AJ had 6 outings each year where he gave his team little chance to win the game. It’s part of his profile to have these outings where nothing seems to be working for him. He’s a 2 pitch pitcher, so when one of them isn’t working, hitters sit on it and crush him.

He’s signed for another 3 years, so get used to it. Every spring they try to get him to work on his change up, and every year he doesn’t throw it (3.1%/3.3% past two seasons). Why not? Beats me, it’s the only plus pitch he has this year (+1.3) his “electric” fastball has been a negative for the past 3 seasons (-6.2/-14.4/-5.9). Even his out pitch, the devastating hard curve that he throws has been down this year (-4.5).

After yesterday’s game, Girardi left open the possibility of skipping AJ’s next start in favor of Javier Vazquez. When Joe leaves open a possibility, it usually happens. It’s almost September, the Yanks have played .500 baseball for a month (14-14 in August). They’re tied with the Rays atop the AL East and the Red Sox just 4.5 back of both teams. There’s no more time for working out your problems, even for a veteran like AJ. It’s time to produce, or give someone else the ball.

0 thoughts on “Same old AJ, just a little worse this year

  1. Steve S.

    9 times in 26 outings where the team had no real chance to win. One out of every three starts. Even the past two seasons it was one out of 4 starts, which is still way too much. If AJ was the Yanks 4th or 5th starter, you’d live with him and take your chances on his occasional upside. But he’s way, way too prominent in the rotation right now.

    Personally, I hope they deal him somewhere this off season. I’ve had it with his inconsistency. Atlanta was the other main bidder for his services, maybe they can fix him.

  2. eddieperez23

    …and the 9 non-competitive starts doesn’t even include his 2 IP 4ER performance vs Tampa where he left injuring his hand in anger. That for all intents and purposes was a non-competitive start and killed the bullpen. So really in 10 out of 26 (39%) of his starts he provided little chance to win. In fact to put into context how poor AJ has pitched this year…Out of the 48 pitchers in the AL who have enough innings to qualify for ERA (not the be all end all of stats, but a good indicator), AJ’s 5.17 ERA ranks him 43rd out of 48 with only Masterson (5.23), Bonderman (5.27), Davies (5.41), Feldman (5.43), Millwood (5.63) (BTW Javy ranks 41st on this list…can you say starting rotation issues).

    Given that run scoring is down significantly across the league this year as compared to last, its safe to say AJ has been much more then “a little worse then last year”. He’s been dreadful….but who can the Yankees turn to? A waiver trade?

  3. oldpep

    I agree with the two posters above: his performance is significantly worse this season. His stubborn refusal to learn how to throw a third pitch well enough to use and then use it enough in games is becoming a real matter for concern. He should be moved to the BP until he sorts that issue out. And Phranchise should take note of what happens to pitchers who refuse to learn a change-up.

  4. Kiko Jones

    It doesn’t help matters that on those occasions where “good AJ” has recently shown up, either the bullpen has blown it (July 2nd 6-1 loss vs TOR; AJ left it 1-0 after 6.2 inn) or the offense has not shown up (Aug 15th 1-0 loss vs KC). Yeah, I know, these things happen. Of course they do. But if you’re going to have such an inconsistent pitcher like AJ in your rotation, you must capitalize on his good outings more than you would with any other pitcher. Obviously, you can’t win at will, but that’s the ridiculous position the Yankees find themselves in when AJ takes the mound.

    • smurfy

      I don’t think it is a coincidence that, after a very poor start, the team didn’t hit when he pitched well the next time (the start before last). There are team confidence dynamics going on all the time. It’s like he didn’t give them a chance last time, so they don’t feel confident today.

  5. They can’t deal A.J. He makes too much money. No other team can afford to devote so much money to a pitcher who isn’t an ace. I kind of agree with this article. We just have to face the fact that A.J. is this type of pitcher. He has been for his entire career and that isn’t going to change. The best thing the Yanks can do is continue to develop young pitching talent and add to the rotation around him in any way they can because with the money he makes, A.J. isn’t going anywhere.

    • T.O. Chris H

      Bingo.

      The Yankees knew what they were doing when they signed AJ, they were making a deal with the devil in the long term so they could have a pitcher to plug in behind CC in order to win a World Series in the short term and frankly it worked. We wouldn’t have won the WS last year with Pettitte as our number 2 and who knows who as our number 3, we can’t trade him and he probably will only get worse as his age causes his fastball to get worse and overall people will regret the signing but he was a big part of both the regular season and post season rotation last year and he allowed Andy to only have to pitch 1 game on short rest as the number 3 starter.

      If we sign Cliff Lee in the off season then Burnett will at least be the number 3 pitcher in the rotation and with Hughes and hopefully Andy behind him the rotation will be secure enough around him to deal with the “AJ starts” he throws as is pointed out in the article and hopefully he will have more good starts than bad in the playoffs.

  6. A.J. used to have a slider when he pitched for the Blue Jays. Honestly, I’m not sure why he dropped it and keeps using the change so infrequently.

    • T.O. Chris H

      He may be worried about injury throwing the slider, it’s the same reason that Wang became more and more unwilling to throw the slider.