Goldilocks

AJ Burnett has turned himself into the perfect parody. With his new hairstyle, he has become Goldilocks. For those of you who don’t have young children, Goldilocks was the girl who broke into a house and kept trying things in threes after finding the first two unacceptable.

That’s AJ, unless things are “just right” he is going to be a mess. You watch him pitch and his raw stuff is some of the best you will ever see. A great fastball and a knee-bending curve. When he first signed with the Yankees, I was critical of the deal because I assumed his injury problems would follow him to New York. You could make the case that he is actually too healthy- 542 innings as a Yankee so far. And in those 542 innings he has compiled an ERA of 4.60 and a record of 31-33.

The old baseball saying is that “flags fly forever”. AJ Burnett earned every dollar the Yankees paid him with his start in Game 2 of the 2009 World Series. In Game 1 Cliff Lee handcuffed the Yankees’ bats and CC Sabathia wasn’t good. AJ had a lot of pressure on him in Game 2 and he delivered with a great start. Without that, the Yankees probably head to Philly down 2-0 and it is hard to imagine that they would have prevailed. But, that start and the $40-plus million left on his contract do not change the fact that Goldilocks is the Yankees worst starter right now. To use a tennis expression, Ivan Nova “held serve” tonight. Phil Hughes gets another crack at starting Saturday. Assuming Hughes pitches well and the Yankees follow through on their plan to go back to a five-man rotation, AJ is the one who has to go to the bullpen. The Yankees can pretend otherwise, but waiting for Goldilocks to find a game that is “just right” is a losing proposition.