Friday, October 15, 2010

Judgement Day For A.J. Burnett

Getty Images & TriStar Pictures

Which of the above will show up to Game 4? The dominant pitcher with the wicked curve ball? Or the pitcher who sometimes looks frozen with a broken arm?

As we all know, the "throwdown" (known as the ALCS) between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers begins today.

CC Sabathia and C.J. Wilson will rumble in Game 1 and the Yankees won't have to deal with Cliff Lee until Game 3. But the game that has gotten the most buzz is Game 4 because the eccentric, sometimes-dominant, sometimes-inconsistent A.J. Burnett will start for the Yankees.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi left Burnett out of the starting rotation (and for good reasons) in the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins-- which means Burnett hasn't pitched since Oct. 2.

During the regular season Burnett (10-15, 5.26 ERA) became the first starting pitcher in Yankees history to lose at least 15 games and have an ERA of over 5.00. His final numbers were the result of inconsistency and at times wildness.

So which A.J. Burnett will show up to Game 4?

That is the million dollar question.

Will it be the pitcher who had 19 starts of 3 ER or less OR will it be the pitcher who had 10 starts of 6 ER runs or more [5 of those starts of 7 ER or more]?

Will it be the guy who pitched 6 consecutive starts of 4 ER or less OR the guy who pitched 5 consecutive starts of 4 ER or more?

I get the feeling that Cliff Lee will take care of the Yankees in Game 3 and Burnett will be starting a crucial, make or break game.

Which for the Yankees means the much-undesired scenario may unfold-- where A.J. Burnett goes, the Yankees go.

Uh oh!

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