Once A.J. Burnett recovered from his much-documented experiment into the nuances of bunting a baseball, he gave the Pittsburgh Pirates great hope with two very solid starts in April. In those contests he totaled 13 innings pitched, and yielded only two runs while striking out 15. New York Yankees fans, in only the way we can, rolled our eyes and gave our very best “Bronx Cheer” at what looked to be yet another pitcher who realized their potential elsewhere.
The thing is that this is A.J. Burnett.
With his first start in the month of May, the newest Buccaneer ace showed us exactly why New York traded him for two minor league players in February. In just 2 2/3 innings he reminded Yankee fans everywhere of what warmer weather means to teams counting on A.J. Burnett. The result left us smiling, and for once agreeing with a move our general manager Brian Cashman made. In that short outing of May 2nd, Burnett ended his Pirate honeymoon by allowing 12 hits and 12 earned runs to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Oh what the Pirates fans must be thinking now. Let’s not feel sorry for them. It isn’t as if they didn’t see what they would be getting.
In his time with the Yankees, Burnett never had a May ERA under 4.00. In fact, looking at his Aprils and Mays since 2010 reveals how the hurler “teases” his teams, then pulls the rug from underneath them. In his last two seasons with the New York Yankees, Burnett’s April ERA was 3.18 while his May ERA jumped to 4.02. The rest of the year shows wild inconsistency as well.
A.J. Burnett’s two previous Junes yield a 7.75 ERA. Inexplicably, in the very next month his ERA since 2010 dips to 3.41. Fans in Pittsburgh shouldn’t get confident though, as that is where the master magician does his best setup. The August ERA for Burnett since 2010 is a whopping 9.86. It would seem that the more work A.J. does, the worse things get.
Yes Pirates fans, the impending train wreck that is A.J.Burnett is all yours now. Enjoy the good moments, God knows you deserve them. Just remember, it is best that you do not celebrate them too hard because ultimately he’s going to disappoint you.