A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Friday, June 24, 2011

AJ Burnett

It's really a dubious honor - 4 strikeouts in an inning, but on Friday night, AJ Burnett achieved this honor that gets achieved about once a year since the stat was first acknowledged (although Baseball Almanac does list some old time greats that have achieved it - Walter Johnson being the most notable and Ed Crane being the first on October 4,1888).
The rest of the game wasn't as memorable for the New York Yankees wild man and occasional solid pitcher as he threw 6.1 innings to get the loss against the Rockies. Other than that 6th inning, he only whiffed one other Rockie, and he walked 5 and allowed 7 hits. Nothing special...
But the 4 in one inning... that's special.
Last year, Manny Parra of the Brewers and King Felix achieved the feat. Hell, in 2002, Burnett did the same feat as well, so he's no stranger to the phenomenon. However, he's still got one more to go before he gets to first place in a tie with Chuck Finley - you know the guy who had the tar kicked out of him by Tawny Kitaen, she of the Whitesnake "Here I Go Again" video. And maybe it's hard to find control when you're throwing heat with movement, but there's also something to be said about picking up and starting again when you should be out of the inning and there's a runner on first because your catcher can't handle the nastiness that you throw. Maybe it's hard to find your control when you want to put a fastball behind your dirty tramp wife's eyes and are so wild with anger that (in the words of Crash Davis), "you couldn't hit water if you fell out of a boat."
And so Nuke Laloosh is going for a new league record.
It's not like opposing teams don't know the book on Burnett. The Phillies knew that if you get to him early in the game, you can get him out, but if you sit and wait on his pitches, you're going to lose (and they did - instead choosing to sit on his pitches and let him find his routine and end their dreams of back to back World Series victories in 2009).
Thus, AJ Burnett's 4+ ERA and 76 strikeouts that go with his 7-5 record really aren't worth the time and attention that the Yankees made us all think that they deserved when they signed him (in the same way that Big Sluggy CC's contract won't be much good when he opts out of it this offseason).
It will be nice to see people fleeing the Bronx - even when they're throwing money out like it was growing on trees. And if AJ is stuck in New York... call it a fitting punishment for a team that thinks that to win is to buy all of the name players - without checking what happens when they aren't making a name for themselves with a no hitter and 4 Ks in an inning.

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