Catching up with A.J.
Ok, it’s a little late but here are some goodies from last A.J’s last start. First, you can see where he first pumps up his fastball to strike out Ortiz and then later throws as he’s fading but throws his second fastest pitch of the night right down the middle as is his trademark after being upset by the umpire’s non-call against Youkilis on a check swing that should have ended the inning. Youkilis (as is his trademark) hit in a run scoring single, and then Sean Casey doubled and the game was wrapped up for the Sox. Vintage Burnett!
Ok now here’s what he was throwing on that night. This was probably where this post broke down because there’s not much to do than beat the dead horse of him finally throwing his changeup and 2-seamer again:
Today, Burnett didn’t throw as many changeups but what was interesting was that his normal 4-seam fastball (orange dots) had about half a foot of downward movement (some would call it “natural”), almost like his normal 2-seam fastballs:
Burnett’s curveball was deadly all night – you have to love those strikeouts where the batter is putting down his bat and taking off his batting gloves before the pitch has crossed the plate because he knows he’s totally fooled and frozen and not going to hit it anyway.
He beat the average strike rate of 1/3 for his curveball by spotting it in the lower half of the zone (or just off the corner) again and again for strikes, as well as the rest of his pitches- up in the zone with his explosive 4-seam fastball or letting his 2-seamer dive in on the hands to lefties and sinking down and away from right-handed hitters (Burnett threw more 2-seamers to LHB, and the most of those right at the belt and on the inner edge of the zone- what a nasty strike to have to do something with).
Compare that to one of his poorer nights in which half of his pitches are not even close and his breaking stuff is either right down the middle or in the dirt.