Last night, A.J. Burnett was effective for six and one-third innings last night before losing it a bit in the seventh inning. Still, it was a solid night for Burnett overall and his stuff reflected that. Subjectively, it seemed like Burnett’s stuff was great last night and I found myself doing that proverbial whistle, impressed with what A.J. was doing out there. Here’s the pertinent info, per Brooks:
|Pitch Type||Number||Strike Percentage||Swing and Miss||Avg/Max Velocity|
|Four Seam Fastball||57||61.4||2||92.14/94|
|Two Seam Fastball*||13||61.5||0||91.4/92.8|
*Brooks had A.J. throwing sinkers and cutters, so I combined them as two seamers.
While he didn’t get as many strikes on it as he did his other pitches, Burnett’s hook was definitely in control last night, as we can see by the four swings and misses he got on it. Why was the curve so good last night? The location was definitely pretty good:
The curveball stayed away from the middle of the plate for the most part and was sweeping down and in against left handed batters. I’m stating the obvious here, but that’s exactly what you want your curveball to do if you’re a right handed pitcher. A few two seamers leaked over the plate and that’s undesirable, but he made up for it with the impressive hook.
After checking Brooks, I ran over to the game’s Gameday page to look up what pitches got Burnett the outs:
|Pitch Type||Number of Outs*||Strikeouts|
*For whatever reason, Gameday didn’t have Burnett’s pitches labeled for the sixth inning PA vs. Derrek Lee.
Again we’re seeing the effectiveness of Burnett’s curveball. He didn’t get as many raw outs on it as he did with his fastball, but the percentage of outs he got with the pitch (21.74) was higher than the percentage with four seamers (15.79). And, of course, it’s always great to see a curveball that generates whiffs.
We incessantly say that A.J. Burnett has great stuff. Well, last night showed that. His fastball may not have been completely blistering, but he was able to use his fantastic curveball to get the Orioles off balance for most of the night. I’m not going to say A.J. is #cured yet or anything, but he’s looked solid to start the year. I’m cautiously optimistic that it will continue.
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