Lots of people would probably say, “Don’t worry about that now, stop looking ahead” , or something of that nature. Screw them though, that’s why I get paid the big bucks.
Yesterday Gerrit Cole was once again a stopper. A big game pitcher. He likely could have gone even deeper into the game to be honest.
Cole has yet to give up more than four runs in a game. He has never even gone less than five innings in an outing. When he’s bad, he’s not terrible. The likelihood of him completely imploding and taking the Pirates out of an elimination game is almost non-existent.
He will also be on regular rest.
That is not the case for A.J. Burnett.
Burnett has been good this season, but inconsistent. When Burnett loses he tends to lose pretty spectacularly.
It’s not only that which makes a Burnett start pure insanity. A.J. Burnett has shown no sign of being able to pitch against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium successfully.
Burnett has been an unmitigated DISASTER at Busch Stadium this year.
Those numbers don’t even include that complete abortion Burnett tossed in the first game of this series.
It’s not just this season either. Last year A.J. had what is almost assuredly the worst start of his career against the Cards at Busch.
Why tempt fate? Why try to box with God?
The knock on A.J. has been that he can’t handle the pressure. That he can’t consistently be “that guy”. This is why many people feel he struggled with the Yankees. It might also explain why his postseason numbers are pretty much garbage.
This isn’t the time to let A.J. prove something. This isn’t the time to go with the “leader”. It’s time to win. Under no objective lens does A.J. Burnett deserve to start a potential game fiver over Gerrit Cole.
A.J. can start game one of the next series. If he doesn’t like it, he has no one to blame but himself.
Well…. that and a really good outing from the Cole train.