A.J. Burnett


Was listening to Mike Francesa on my way home a few minutes ago. I agree with Mike on, quite literally, nothing. But I found myself in the odd position of nodding along as he repeatedly slammed Joe Girardi’s decision to start A.J. Burnett at Philadelphia on three days of rest.

As Mike noted, this was a free game for the Yankees. They were leading the Series 3-1, and should have started journeyman Chad Gaudin while hoping for the best. At his worst, Gaudin is pretty lousy. But, generally speaking, he’s a passable No. 4 or 5 starter who could have put up a 5 IP, 3 ER sort of line before handing things to the bullpen.

That way, the Yankees would have returned home with Burnett and Sabathia—both brilliant at Yankee Stadium this season—rested and ready to go. Instead, Andy Pettitte gets the ball tomorrow. The veteran Yank is a wonderful pitcher who had a surprisingly good year. But can he dominate a game? Shut a team down? No. Burnett, as his top, can.

This still probably ends well for New York. But it’s far less certain than a few days ago.