Typical Double Car Garage Door Size - It's another thing to succumb to that particular label as readily as A.J. Burnett did this weekend. His conduct on Saturday was a clear sign that not only does he pitch with all-or-nothing results, but he also tosses with an all-or-nothing mentality. And the worst part is, he shows no signs of fighting to rid himself.
Rather than seeing this weekend as a chance to show he can claw and scratch to help keep his team in a match despite a bad beginning, Burnett let his emotions get the very best of him. This weekend it became clear that Burnett doesn't have the focus or want to pitch in grind-it-out circumstances. It seems that he feels if he does not have a jewel going by the second inning, what's the point?
At 33, Burnett should also know a few other things. When things get tough, he should know that most great athletes rise to challenges and bear down. He should understand that it is every starting pitcher's job to provide his team an opportunity to win each time he takes the mound. He does not have to command in every excursion. Occasionally his job would be to keep the match close. Occasionally his job would be to keep his own offense.
Most of all, it's a starting pitcher's job to provide effort every time he's called on to pitch. This does not merely mean physical effort. Mental effort is meant by this. Suck it up, in case you give up an early lead, like Burnett did on Saturday and give your team a chance to come back. Don't let your mechanics get lazy as a result of concentration and lost focus. And definitely, don't lose control of your emotions.