Double Door Mini Refrigerator - It's something to be labeled based on your own results. It's one more matter to succumb to that label as readily as A.J. Burnett did this weekend. His conduct on Saturday was a clear sign that not only does he pitch with all or nothing results, however he also tosses with an all or nothing mentality. And the worst part is, he shows no signs of fighting to rid himself.
Instead of seeing this weekend as a way to show he can claw and scratch to help keep his team in a game despite a bad start, Burnett let his emotions get the very best of him. This weekend it became increasingly apparent that Burnett does not have want or the focus to pitch in grind-it-out circumstances. This indicates that he feels if he does not have a stone going by the second inning, what's the point? Why even bother?
At 33, Burnett should also understand some other things. When things get tough, he should understand that most good athletes rise to challenges and bear down. He should understand that it is every starting pitcher's job to provide his team a chance to win each time he takes the mound. He does not have to rule in every excursion. Sometimes his task is to maintain the game close. Sometimes his task is to maintain his own offense.
Most of all, it is a starting pitcher's job to provide every time he is called on to pitch to attempt. This does not just mean physical effort. This means mental effort. What this means is pitching to the ebbs and flows of the game. In the event that you give up an early lead, like Burnett did on Saturday, suck it up and give your team the opportunity to come back. Don't let your mechanics get slack as a result of lost focus and concentration. And definitely, do not lose control of your emotions.