What to do with AJ Burnett?
AJ Burnett is hurt. Old news. Better late than neverâ€¦
I hope I’m not breaking down the walls here. Below is correspondence between fellow Mop Up Duty writer Callum and myself, with a date of about a week ago;
Callum: Gibby left Burnett in today after 130 pitches. Unreal. Even more unreal when you consider his last 2 starts were 117, 125 pitches each.
Kman: Even more puzzling when you consider the Jays aren’t making a playoff run this season. People quote 6 games back in the wild card, which is really bullsh*t. The Jays (3 under) are chasing a team (Tigers) that’s 9 over .500. Burnett and his history of arm troubles (+ the number of curves he’s throwing this year) should be kept to a 110 max pitch count. Save it for next season
Pitch Counts of AJ Burnett over the past seven starts: 118, 103, 103, 125, 117, 130, 82 (injury game)
Of course, on top of this inevitably comes the question: Is his shoulder sore or is this something more major? You certainly can’t take the Jays brass at face value when it comes to reporting injuries to the media, and more importantly, the fans.
Are the Jays really in contention for a playoff spot? The Red Sox are 11 games in front of the Blue Birds and the Yankees look like they’ll make a charge for the rest of the season. Over in the AL Central, the Indians & Tigers are battling it out and the runner up could very well win 95+ games. Throw in the over-achieving Angles & A’s and a wild card spot will be tough to come by for the Jays.
When AJ comes back, should the Jays go full speed ahead with him? Or maybe they can lay down a pitch count or even push a few starts back here or there? I guess everyone will have their own answer and perspective on this one. It probably comes down to whether the Jays should fight it out this season or steady the troops for a run in 2008.