Double Swinging French Doors - It's one more thing to succumb to that particular label as readily 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, however he also pitches with an all or nothing mentality.
Instead of seeing this weekend as the opportunity to show he can claw and scratch to keep his team despite a poor start in a game, Burnett let his emotions get the top of him. This weekend it became increasingly obvious that Burnett doesn't have want or the focus to pitch in grind-it-out conditions. This indicates that he feels if he doesn't have a jewel going by the second inning, what's the point? Why even bother? The game is a lost cause.
At 33, Burnett should also know some other things. He should know that most great sportsmen rise to challenges and bear down when things get tough. He should be aware that it is the job to give his team the opportunity to win each time he takes the mound of every starting pitcher. He doesn't have to command in every outing. Occasionally his task would be to maintain the game close. Occasionally his task would be to maintain his own offense.
Most importantly, it's a starting pitcher's job to give effort each time he's called on to pitch. This doesn't just mean physical effort. This means mental effort. Suck it up like Burnett did on Saturday should you give up an early lead and give your team the opportunity to come back. Do not let your mechanics get slack as a result of concentration and lost focus. And definitely, do not lose control of your emotions.