If you are a Pittsburgh Pirates fan and you heard that A.J. Burnett was going to start Game 1 of the NLDS, you had to be pumped up. Burnett has the attitude that you want your guy to have on the mound and even though he did not have a good record or stats against the St. Louis Cardinals this season, Pirates fans still loved the decision.
After the outing that Burnett had on Thursday, the question will be asked: should Burnett pitch another game in this series, if he gets the chance?
It will be a difficult decision for manager Clint Hurdle. It’s not like Hurdle does not have good options to choose from in his pitching staff. Of course, there is Francisco Liriano, who showed the baseball work on Tuesday night against the Cincinnati Reds that he is more than capable of pitching in big playoff games.
Then there is Charlie Morton, who has pitched well down the stretch for the Pirates. However, his numbers against the Cardinals this season are not good: 0-2 with a 7.90 ERA. Then, there is rookie sensation Gerrit Cole. Cole has been almost lights-out from the month of August on.
The interesting thing about Cole is that he has never faced the Cardinals in his young career. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I guess we will see that on Friday when he gets his first chance to face the Cardinals in Game 2.
Trust me, no one in Pittsburgh is saying that they think Burnett is done and should never pitch again for the Pirates. A.J. is the heart and soul of this 2013 Pirates’ club. If the Pirates need another game out of Burnett against the Cardinals, I feel that he will and should get a chance get revenge on St. Louis.
Hopefully, Thursday’s game will not be the last game that Burnett pitches for the Pirates or in his career. If the Pirates get another chance, they have to go with their horse in the big game. Burnett, if he does get another chance, will not let how he pitched on Thursday change what he does on the mound. That is the sign of a go-to pitcher and a winner, and Burnett is all of these.