Pittsburgh Pirates 4 - AJ Burnett 0

AJ Burnett made his second solid start for the Pittsburgh Pirates

AJ Burnett made his second solid start for the Pittsburgh Pirates

The slogan on the shirt says it all doesn’t it.

Throughout this long and painful offseason I had to endure seemingly endless swipes by both friend and foe alike regarding Neal Huntington’s lack of activity over the past 2 months.

Most prevalent was that AJ Burnett was an invaluable piece of the rotation that we could not afford to lose.  And not signing him is evidence that the Pirates don’t want to spend money.  That they don’t want to win.  That they are missing their window to compete.  They just want to make a profit.   (I’m not rolling my eyes right now…..really)

You know how the story goes.

But the good thing about facts is that they trump opinion every time.  (especially bad ones)  So for all of the people who were saying that the team is sunk because they lost AJ Burnett, I’ll help you keep score this season.  No, no…you don’t have to thank me.

And again, whether or not you still feel horribly cheated for losing AJ after reading this, that’s of course for you to decide.  I’m just stating the facts.

So far (just for the record) :

Pirates 4 – AJ Burnett 0

I predicted that AJ will finish the year with an ERA over 4.0 and have multiple stints on the IR.  I was chastised for that in the worst possible terms.  Believe me.  So how is Mr. $15million pitching so far this year?

What if I told you that he has a 7.53 ERA with 19 hits in only 14 innings pitched?  Would you believe me?  Or if you did, would you discount those numbers as just being Spring Training related.

How about if I told you that he has 8 walks and 6 Hit Batsmen, but only 6 strikeouts?  And would you believe me if I told you that opposing batters are hitting .328 against him?  And that he has a 1.88 WHIP?  (for those of you who don’t know… that’s bad).

You’d probably just say, well that’s AJ… he’ll turn it around for the start of the season and that he always starts spring training poorly.   And if you did, I will give you credit because you’d be half right.

He doesn’t always start slow, but Last year his ERA in Spring Training was 7.36.  The difference being he posted 8 strikeouts with only 4 walks last year.  This year he’s already gave up 14 free passes on top of only striking out 4 and his BAA is up .40.

You can decide for yourself whether you see a difference.  I’m just stating the facts.

But aside from AJ, which believe me will be an MLB afterthought by August, the important point of focus should be the Pirates vs. the Phillies.  That’s what really matters.  How are the teams matching up?

Clearly, the Phillies with their $170m dollar payroll, good for 3rd in the Majors, should be able to easily handle the lowly Pirates who spent $70m this year.   Even in spring training right?  Again, it is only spring training so you can decide if this even matters at all…. I’m just stating the facts.

So far in the ever so irrelevant spring, Pirates are 4-0 against the Phillies.  And really….it wasn’t even a contest.  The Pirates have won by a combined score of 20-9 in 4 games.

You’d probably say, well Spring Training doesn’t matter.  And if you did, I’ll give you credit.  You’d be half right.

Over the last three seasons teams that have finished Spring Training .500 or better made the playoffs more times than teams that finished the pre-season with a losing record, but it’s fairly even.  15-13.

So does it really matter the Pirates are dominating the Phillies so far?  That it hasn’t even been close?  That AJ Burnett is struggling mightily in his first few games outside of the city of Pittsburgh?  Or that the Pirates have a 12-9 record in Spring Training compared to the Phillies NL worst 6-15?  Well, I don’t know, that’s for you to decide.

I’m just stating the facts.

Tune into the Big Tuna Show today to talk Spring Training Pirate Baseball and NCAA tourney picks of the day.   http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sportsbar1/2014/03/23/the-big-tuna-1

Tags: AJ Burnett Featured Image Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates

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