Chrome Double Door Hooks - It's something to be labeled based on your results. It's yet another matter to succumb to that particular label as easily 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 maintain his team in a match despite a bad beginning, Burnett let his emotions get the top of him. This weekend it became increasingly evident that Burnett does not have the focus or want to toss in grind-it-out circumstances. It appears that he feels if he doesn't have a jewel going by the second inning, what is the point? Why even bother? The match is a lost cause.
At 33, Burnett should also understand a few other things. He should understand that most good athletes rise to challenges and bear down when things get tough. He should understand that it's every starting pitcher's job to give his team an opportunity to win each time he takes the mound. He doesn't have to control in every outing. Occasionally his job is to maintain the match close. Occasionally his job is to maintain his own offense.
Most of all, it's a starting pitcher's job to give attempt each and every time he is called on to toss. This doesn't just mean physical effort. This means mental exertion. This means tossing to the ebbs and flows of the match. Like Burnett did on Saturday if you give up an early lead, suck it up and give your team an opportunity to come back. Don't let your machinists get slack as a result of lost focus and attention. And certainly, do not lose control of your emotions.