August 23, 2009

Control, not Posada, Burnett’s problem

There has been much hype over the relationship between battery mates A.J. Burnett and Jorge Posada. Of course, with Burnett blowing up on the mound for the world to see and a couple of shake-offs, this situation is waiting to be overblown. The fact is, Burnett didn’t have control last night, and tossed too many fat pitches.

Even if there were disagreements between the two, it is still up to Burnett to throw whatever pitch he wants.

“I just make suggestions,” Posada said. “It’s up to the pitcher to throw the pitch he wants. He’s the guy in charge.” – via PeteAbe

Burnett agreed, and expanded on his outing a little bit.

“There were a couple of heaters (when) I felt that I should have thrown a hook. I step off and re-gather and that’s when the non-executed pitch came. (Posada) calls fine back there. It’s just a matter of me throwing what I want to throw.

“There’s no pattern there. I’ve had a great run now with Jorge. So there’s no fingers to point but at me.”

Firstly, he’s right about blaming himself. This is what everyone needs to understand. He didn’t make the pitches, and the Red Sox made him pay.

Secondly, this sounds a lot like what he said after his struggles early on this season. The only thing missing was a promise that he would figure everything out like he said after his slow start.

Remember, Burnett leads the American League in walks at a pace of nearly one every two innings. His eight consecutive balls in the with two out in the second inning resulting in two walks and a three-run homer didn’t help that statistic.

Comparing his last two starts against the Red Sox — one great, one awful — he threw a much higher percentage of fastballs in his successful start (67.8 to 55.7 percent). Ironically, this information would point to Posada making the right calls, and Burnett wrongly shaking him off. And everyone wants to blame Posada?

Burnett was on a roll before getting lit up last night. In 12 prior starts, he was 9-3 with a 2.59 ERA with Posada catching 10 of those games. And everyone wants to blame Posada?

Even if Burnett was right about the shake offs, it doesn’t erase the bad memories Burnett will have after surrendering a career-high nine earned runs.

With Burnett scheduled to start against Texas this Thursday, I would let Jose Molina have a chance to calm him down and hopefully gain his confidence back.

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