Double Door Beverage Refrigerator - It's one thing to be labeled based on your results. It's yet another matter to succumb to that particular label as readily as A.J. Burnett did this weekend. His conduct on Saturday was a clear indication that not only does he pitch with all-or-nothing results, but he also pitches 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 the opportunity to show he can scratch and claw to keep his team despite a bad beginning in a game, Burnett let his emotions get the best of him. This weekend it became obvious that Burnett doesn't have desire or the focus to pitch in grind-it-out conditions. It appears that he feels if he does not have a stone going by the second inning, what is the point? Why even bother? The game is a lost cause.
At 33, Burnett should also understand a few other things. When things get tough, he should understand that most good athletes rise to challenges and bear down. He should be aware that it's every starting pitcher's job to provide his team the opportunity to win each time he takes the mound. He does not have to control in every excursion. Sometimes his task is to keep the game close. Sometimes his task is to keep his own offense.
Above all, it is a starting pitcher's job to provide each and every time he's called on to pitch to effort. This does not merely mean physical effort. Mental exertion is meant by this. Suck it up, in the event that you give up an early lead, like Burnett did on Saturday and give your team the opportunity to come back. Do not let your mechanics get lazy as a result of concentration and lost focus. And definitely, do not lose control of your emotions.