Double Steel Doors With Glass - It's yet another thing to succumb to that label as readily as A.J. Burnett did this weekend. His behaviour on Saturday was a clear indicator that not only does he pitch with all-or-nothing results, but he also pitches with an all-or-nothing mentality.
Instead of seeing this weekend as the opportunity to show he can scrape and claw to keep his team in a match despite a poor start, Burnett let his emotions get the best of him. This weekend it became increasingly evident that Burnett doesn't have desire or the focus to pitch in grind-it-out circumstances. It seems that he feels if he doesn't have a gem going by the second inning, what is the point? The match is a lost cause.
At 33, Burnett should also know some other things. When things get tough, he should know that most good sportsmen rise to challenges and bear down. He should be aware that it is every starting pitcher's job to give his team the opportunity to win every time he takes the mound. He doesn't have to dominate in every outing. Sometimes his task would be to maintain the match close. Sometimes his task would be to maintain his own offense within striking distance.
Most importantly, it's a starting pitcher's job to give effort each and every time he's called on to pitch. This doesn't only mean physical effort. This means mental effort. This implies pitching to the ebbs and flows of the match. Should you give up an early lead, like Burnett did on Saturday, suck it up and give your team a chance to come back. Don't let your mechanics get idle as a result of concentration and lost focus. And certainly, do not lose control of your emotions.