After last night’s game, AJ Burnett was quite upfront about how he has pitched thus far as a Yankee:
“Terrible,” Burnett said when asked how he would characterize his season. “There have been glimpses of greatness, but I’m not very consistent right now. I’m not a negative guy, so I’m not going to beat myself up over it. When I do get on that run, it’s going to be impressive. I promise you that.”
Burnett suggested that he will hit his stride eventually and go on a big time run. A look at his career splits show a career 4.01 ERA in the first half, compared to a .371 second half ERA and slightly better numbers in almost every statistical category. In his last three seasons, Burnett’s splits have been incredibly pronounced, with 2007 and 2008 in particular displaying that AJ has become a second half dynamo. In 2007, his ERA was 4.21 at the half and his WHIP was 1.26. His second half brought an ERA of 3.01 and a WHIP of 1.09. 2008 was more of the same, with a first half ERA of 4.96 and WHIP of 1.46 being ameliorated by a second half ERA of 2.86 and a WHIP of 1.18.
What do these numbers mean? They suggest that it is far too early to give up on AJ Burnett’s 2009 season. While he has been wildly inconsistent and has only provided brief hints of the player that he can be, it is likely that he will go on a run and carry this staff for a while. As he stated, when he does get himself on track, it will likely be impressive. Hopefully he carries his typical second half performance into the postseason, and makes the Yankees very difficult to beat in a short series.
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