“I’m not going to lie,” Burnett said. “Dave is a big part of what we do here, and who I am and who our starters are. On the other hand, I’ve been pitching for 11 years now. I think I’d be able to make the adjustment on my own out there.”Joe Girardi understood his right-handers, while Mike Harkey, Eiland's substitute, isn't as understanding.
“(Eiland) not here is a big loss for all of us,” Burnett said. “I’m not going to point fingers and make excuses at all. I’m out there throwing pitches whether Dave’s in the dugout or not. He’s corrected me enough where I should have it in my memory what Dave says. I’m a man. I’m a professional athlete who’s got a big contract, who’s here for a reason, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to do that on your own.”
“I don’t discount that,” Joe Girardi said. “I wish I knew what exactly it was because we would try to straighten it out. Yeah, Dave has an impact on all of the pitchers. Could it (be part of the problem)? Yeah, but I can’t tell you that’s exactly what it is.”I think comfort on the mound is one of the biggest factors to being a successful pitcher in this league. When pitchers aren't in their comfort zone, they tend to struggle, so I get where AJ is coming from.and based on this evidence it appears he might be on to something. These are his four starts since Eiland left the team (hat-tip to commenter Pinstripes for the data):
“I don’t think it’s any tougher than it’s always been,” Harkey said. “As a coach period we’re going to go through ups and downs. You’re going to have guys that struggle, and everybody’s going to sit there and put their heads together and try to find answers to it.”
- @ Tor: 6 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 3 HR
- @ Bal: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR
- vs. Phil: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR
- vs. Ariz: 4 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3 HR
- His ERA before Eiland left: 3.28
- ERA now: 4.83
What do you think? Does Burnett have a valid excuse or should he just shut up and pitch?