There is, of course, much gnashing of teeth this morning around the Yankee Universe about last night's dismal performance by A.J. Burnett.
Obviously, the Yankees did not pay the man $82.5 million for five seasons and expect to get the type of pitching they could have gotten from Darrell Rasner or Sidney Ponson -- 4-5, 4.89 ERA, including 0-1, 12.91 in two starts against Boston.
The columnists are killing Burnett, who had been 5-0, 2.56 against Boston before this season, and justifiably so. Ken Davidoff, Mark Feinsand and Peter Abraham are among those wondering about Burnett this morning. Here is some what Pete Abe had to say.
Burnett fell behind 12 of the 18 batters he faced tonight and threw only 40 of 84 pitches for strikes. This is the A.J. Burnett so many people feared, the guy with the great talent and frustrating lack of consistency. The only strike he throws regularly are with those pies.
"It’s embarrassing, it’s very disappointing," Burnett said. "But obviously I’m not going to kill myself. I’m not going to go and try to figure out what went wrong or this and that. I’m going to get back out there. The confidence is there."
He’s not going to figure out what is wrong? He has a 4.89 ERA. Figuring out what is wrong might be a good idea. Burnett was asked how he views his 12 starts with the Yankees.
"Terrible," he said. "Glimpses of greatness but I’m not very consistent right now. I’m not a negative guy, so I’m not going to beat myself up over it. But when I do get on that run, it’s going to be impressive. I promise you that."
Brave words. But in New York, that sort of talk can get thrown back in your face if you don’t back it up. Presumably he knows that.
Shouldn't the Yankees have known that this wildly inconsistent version of Burnett is the guy they were likely to get for their money? He's in his 11th season, and last year (18-10) was the only time in his career he won more than 12 games or finished more than two games above .500 for a season.
Yes, Burnett is better than the career-worst 4.89 ERA he is currently sporting. I think, though, that we just have to accept that with him there may always be night like last night where he looks like a kid in Class A who has no clue where the ball is going.
Let's move on to some other topics.
- IT'S THE FENCES, NOT THE WIND: Talking about the home run barrage at Yankee Stadium won't improve your mood this morning, but we have to do it. Thanks to Was Watching we already knew the right field dimensions were smaller than in the old Stadium. Well, now Accu Weather is saying the same thing.
"Taking into account the dimensions of the field and wall height, AccuWeather.com has calculated that 19 percent (20 out of 105) home runs would not have flown out of the old stadium."
The report by meteorologist Tim Buckley says losing a "gentle curve" in the fence as it extends from right field to center field, caused by a new scoreboard, has the ballpark playing up to 9 feet shorter in spots. Combined with 2-foot-shorter wall heigths, it has caused the home-run surge.
- AT LEAST THEY'RE HAPPY IN TAIWAN: You might not be happy that the under-performing Chien-Ming Wang is pitching tonight in a game the Yankees badly need to win, but they sure are happy in CMW's native Taiwan.
- Ump Bump recently ran a piece listing one player to cut from every AL team. They are wondering the same thing most everyone else is about the Yankees. Why is Angel Berroa still on the team?
A couple more things
- WFAN's Yankees beat reporter Sweeny Murti recently answered some questions from me. That interview will be posted later on this morning.
- ABOUT THOSE COMMENTS: There were a few 'Burnett sucks' comments in the game thread last night. If that's all you have to say, please don't bother. If you are going to comment, add something intelligent to the conversation.