6 Foot Double Front Door - It's one thing to be labeled based on your results. It's yet another 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 tosses with an all or nothing attitude. And the worst part is, he shows no signals of fighting to rid himself of this label.
Instead of seeing this weekend as a chance to show he can scrape and claw to maintain his team despite a poor beginning in a game, Burnett let his emotions get the very best of him. This weekend it became obvious that Burnett does not have want or the focus to pitch in grind-it-out circumstances. It appears that he feels if he really doesn't have a gem going by the second inning, what's the point? Why even bother? The game is a lost cause.
At 33, Burnett should also understand some other things. When things get tough he should understand that most great athletes rise to challenges and bear down. He should realize that it's the job to give his team a chance to win every time he takes the mound of every starting pitcher. He really doesn't have to control in every excursion. Sometimes his task would be to maintain the game close. Sometimes his task would be to maintain his own offense within striking distance.
Most of all, itis a starting pitcher's job to give effort each time he's called on to pitch. This really doesn't only mean physical effort. This means mental effort. This implies tossing to the ebbs and flows of the game. Should you give up an early lead, like Burnett did on Saturday, suck it up and give your team an opportunity to come back. Do not let your mechanics get lazy as a result of lost focus and concentration. And certainly, do not lose control of your emotions.