Narrow External Double Doors - It's one thing to be labeled based on your results. It's another matter to succumb to that particular label as easily as A.J. Burnett did this weekend. His conduct on Saturday was a clear indication that not only does he toss with all-or-nothing results, however he also tosses with an all-or-nothing attitude. And the worst part is, he shows no signs of fighting to rid himself of this label.
Rather than seeing this weekend as a way to prove he can claw and scratch to help keep his team despite a bad beginning in a match, Burnett let his emotions get the best of him. This weekend it became obvious that Burnett doesn't have want or the focus to toss in grind-it-out conditions. It seems that he feels if he does not have a stone going by the second inning, what is the point? Why even bother?
At 33, Burnett should also know a few other things. When things get tough he should know that most great sportsmen rise to challenges and bear down. He should understand that it is every starting pitcher's job to give his team an opportunity to win every time he takes the mound. He does not have to dominate in every outing. Occasionally his task will be to maintain the match close. Occasionally his task will be to maintain his own offense within striking distance.
Most of all, it is a starting pitcher's job to give each and every time he is called on to toss to effort. This does not merely mean physical effort. This means mental exertion. This means pitching to the ebbs and flows of the match. Suck it up, like Burnett did on Saturday in the event that you give up an early lead and give your team an opportunity to come back. Don't let your mechanics get lazy as a result of lost focus and concentration. And definitely, do not lose control of your emotions.