Burnett can throw the ball underhand while naked for all I care if he continues to shut down the Yankees like he did last night, but someone’s got to keep him honest. Did A.J. really stick to throwing his changeup last night like he promised he would? Do you really have to ask?
6 changeups. That’s about par for the course in a a 2007 Burnett start. But Arnsberg wasn’t kidding about it looking better than ever – movement wise that is a great changeup, one of the best in the league even. Evidently slamming his hand in a door has added 3-4 inches of drop to his mythical third pitch and made it more consistent. However, compared to his best stuff, or all his pitches last year, a couple of things pop out about last night:
- A.J.’s curveball wasn’t curving. Dropping just fine, but not curving any more than a cut fastball.
- He didn’t really have a 2-seamer and a 4-seamer, just a big sludge of straight to tailing action. That normally spells trouble.
- He was only throwing 92-93 mph after the first few innings.
“He’s just a really good pitcher,” New York’s Johnny Damon said. “We didn’t see the best of him tonight. We’ve seen him better. He can really throw hard and he has a great breaking ball. He’s a guy you have to get to early or you may not get to him at all.”
Nice to know that while he had good control, Burnett managed to put together a (very) quality start last night without his good stuff, as compared to last year when he couldn’t throw his curve in the cold and was a disaster for the first half of April.