White Double Doors With Glass - It is one thing to be labeled based on your results. It is another thing to succumb to that label as readily as A.J. Burnett did this weekend. His behavior on Saturday was a clear sign that not only does he toss with all-or-nothing results, however he also tosses with an all-or-nothing mentality. And the worst part is, he shows no signals of fighting to rid himself of this label.
Rather than seeing this weekend as a way to demonstrate he can scrape and claw to keep his team in a match despite a bad start, Burnett let his emotions get the very best of him. This weekend it became evident that Burnett does not have the focus or desire to toss 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? The match is a lost cause.
At 33, Burnett should also understand some other things. When things get tough, he should understand that most great sportsmen rise to challenges and bear down. He should understand that it is the job to provide his team the opportunity to win each time he takes the mound of every starting pitcher. He does not have to command in every trip. Occasionally his job will be to keep the match close. Occasionally his job will be to keep his own offense.
Above all, it's a starting pitcher's job to provide effort each and every time he's called on to toss. This does not only mean physical effort. Mental exertion is meant by this. This implies tossing 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 the opportunity to come back. Don't let your machinists get idle as a result of attention and lost focus. And certainly, don't lose control of your emotions.