A.J. Burnett lost his fourth straight game on Monday, but the Yankees maintained their half-game lead over Boston and Tampa Bay in the AL B-East.
After finishing May with a 6-2 record and 3.28 ERA, Burnett dropped four games to Toronto, Baltimore, Philadelphia and the Diamondbacks in June and watched his ERA balloon to 4.83.
Jorge Posada thinks it comes down to location – as in Burnett keeps missing his. It’s difficult to determine what exactly has gone wrong with the righty’s mechanics, but I think it has more to do with his head than his arm.
One event that has correlated with Burnett’s slide is the absence of pitching coach Dave Eiland, who went on personal leave for undisclosed reasons on June 4. Now we all know that correlation does not imply causality, but I speculate that not having Eiland around is certainly contributing to Burnett’s skid.
To be fair, Burnett is not using this as an excuse and I don’t think a pitcher with his level of experience should be struggling in the absence of his regular pitching coach, considering he has one of the most respected catchers in Posada on his team as well as a former catcher, Joe Girardi as his manager, not to mention Tony Pena and bullpen coach Mike Harkey around him. There are plenty of people with knowledge of pitching to help him out.
One thing is for certain – with the All Star Break approaching, and the division race tightening up, Burnett needs to pull it together FAST.
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Written by Stephanie Geosits