Double French Doors Internal - It is one thing to be labeled based on your own results. It is one more thing to succumb to that label as easily as A.J. Burnett did this weekend. His behavior on Saturday was a clear indication that not only does he pitch with all-or-nothing results, but he also tosses with an all-or-nothing attitude.
Instead of seeing this weekend as a chance to prove he can scratch and claw to help keep his team in a match despite a poor beginning, Burnett let his emotions get the best of him. This weekend it became evident that Burnett does not have desire or the focus to pitch in grind-it-out circumstances. This indicates that he feels if he really doesn't have a gem going by the second inning, what is the point? Why even bother? The match is a lost cause.
At 33, Burnett should also know a few other things. He bear down when things get tough and should know that most great athletes rise to challenges. He should be aware that it is every starting pitcher's job to give his team the opportunity to win each time he takes the mound. He really doesn't have to control in every trip. Sometimes his job will be to keep the match close. Sometimes his job will be to keep his own offense within striking distance.
Most of all, it is a starting pitcher's job to give attempt each time he's called on to pitch. This really doesn't merely mean physical effort. This means mental exertion. This means pitching to the ebbs and flows of the match. Suck it up like Burnett did on Saturday in case you give up an early lead and give your team a chance to come back. Do not let your mechanics get slack as a result of lost focus and concentration. And certainly, don't lose control of your emotions.