While the result was not what the Philadelphia Phillies would have hoped for, they have to be pleased with the pitching performance of the team’s big signing in the offseason.
A.J. Burnett, who was with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, had a good outing in his first Spring Training game. He pitched the first two innings for the Phillies and was sharp for the most part. He faced ten batters while only allowing one hit, which was a line drive double by Gregory Polanco. Burnett also recorded a strikeout which was earned by striking out Jaff Decker, the first batter he faced.
One thing about Burnett I saw that was concerning were the two batters he hit. With only one out left to get to end the first inning, Burnett hit Pedro Alvarez to keep the inning alive which allowed the Pirates to score one batter later. He would repeat that in the second inning, hitting Jordy Mercer with two outs in the inning. His control is one thing that he should work on going forward.
What impressed me the most from his outing was the ground outs. Burnett lived up to his reputation of being a ground ball pitcher in a huge way as four of his six outs came by way of the ground ball. This helped the infielders get some work done on fielding them which should help once the season starts.
If Burnett can work on the control of his pitches, he could become the surprise pitcher for the Phillies going into the 2014 season. He definitely has the stuff to make a difference; now all he needs to do is learn to knock off the rust from the offseason and help bring the Phillies back to the playoffs.