Thursday, June 9, 2011

Here's A Few More R-Words For Yankees A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett continued losing another game, 11-6, to the Boston Red Sox as a New York Yankees starter, and was asked after the game why he seemed top have more success against the Sox when he was with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Burnett's partial answer to the pertinent question, "it's retarded."

For the record, as a Blue Jay,  Burnett was 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA against the Sox but in eight starts as a Yankee, he is 0-4 in eight starts and has given up 40 earned runs in 41 1/3 innings for an ERA of 8.71 against the same ballclub.

The losing pitcher later apologized for his politically incorrect reply and it got me thinking about some R-words which could be used to describe Burnett.  Let's start with repulsive to describe the relapsing starter's answer last night.

Let's continue with red, as in Red Sox and red-faced.  Burnett seems to revert back to his rattled self every time he faces the Boston line-up.  Last night was rocked by the Sox for seven earned runs on seven hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings.   Repugnant comes to mind.

Remember is another R-word.  Did  Burnett forget about the night before when Jon Lester plunked Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin and David Ortiz humbled rookie Hector Noesi by flipping his bat after homering.

Last night, with Yankee Stadium buzzing about revenge in the steaming air, Big Papi stepped to the plate in the first inning and jacked his 15th home-run ten rows deep for an early 3-0 Boston lead.  Surprisingly, no brush-back by Burnett for Ortiz's celebratory bat toss or the boppings by Lester.  Retaliation isn't in his vocabulary.

"He's been doing that for years.  Who cares?" Burnett said of Ortiz's antics.  "I didn't watch him when he hit it off me and I didn't see it last night.  Rerun.

The Yankee manager, Joe Girardi,  was watching--both nights.  Girardi repeatedly remarked that he didn't appreciate Ortiz's funky bat move and expected his pitcher to rattle the Boston slugger because "it bothered him."

Ortiz showed no remorse about how he threw the bat after his home-run and had his own retort.

"Why should I?" said the rotund DH.  ""I don't care about what Joe Girardi says, man.  No, I come to play the game every day and that's about it.  I'm done with that."

Either way, Burnett showed no resilience on the mound and resented the question afterwards. 

"I'm not in Toronto anymore, so I'm tired of hearing that.  It's retarded," said Burnett.  "If anything is different I made pitches in Toronto.  I didn't make pitches tonight.  That's the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of."

Besides the $82.5 million dollar starter, there is a lot of blame to share for last night's defeat.  Brett Gardner fell asleep on a passed ball and Derek Jeter dribbled into a double-play with the bases loaded, but the real  concern has to be about Burnett's reversal of fortune every year down the stretch.  He now has a 2-4 record after a 4-0 start.

Are the Yankees going to chance putting Burnett on the mound in a Game 2 playoff series?  If he can't hold down the Red Sox in June, how can the team expect the righthander to put them down in October?  Risky.

The Yankees starting line-up is ramshackle at best right now and being held together by CC Sabathia and  38 year-old Bartolo Colon's reanimated arm.  With Phil Hughes recovery a crap-shoot, Burnett is an important cog in the rotation.  He was specifically paid big bucks to come over from Toronto for his Red Sox slaying prowess and he has failed to reciprocate on the deal.

Should Burnett have represented by going after Ortiz last night?  

Former-Yankee, Dwight "Doc" Gooden, on his Twitter account wrote: "In the 80's Ortiz would be laying on his [backside] right now after the stunt he pulled [Tuesday] night."

The Yankees are 1-7 this season against the reviled Red Sox and looking up at first place.

Here's an R-word Burnett needs to earn whenever it involves the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry--it's called respect.

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