This afternoon A.J. Burnett will ride into Philadelphia looking to win his eighth straight start. The Bucs will look to win ten straight with Burnett on the mound. Doing so would salvage a split in a series that had the looks of Pittsburgh already being in position for the win had they not blown scoring opportunities in game two of the series.
The last time Burnett pitched in Philly it wasn’t pretty. The right hander got rocked for six runs in the 2009 World Series as a member of the NY Yankees.
But 2012 has been all about the comeback as he is putting together a candidacy for the All-Star Game. Burnett has got the decision in seven straight starts by putting up an ERA under two. He is looking at a career year at the age of 35. Maybe it’s the water…maybe it’s the cold Irahn City’s.
The Phillies are hitting very well and the Pirates have been able to come close to matching the production after McKenry, McGehee, and McCutchen slugged bombs for the Bucs. McCutchen crushed his blast in the eighth inning to give his Pirates some needed breathing room. It came off Chad Qualls and sent many of the Philthadelphians home with dreams of a comeback crushed.
McKenry has seven hits including two bombs, and would have had three if not for the stiff wind in Citizens Bank Park.
The runs might keep coming this afternoon as the Phils send Kyle Kendrick to the mound with an ERA over five. Kendrick has pitched rather well in five career starts against the Bucs, but Kendrick has struggled in his last three starts giving up 13 earned runs in 14.1 innings while getting ripped for 22 hits.
If Burnett and the Zoltan powered Buccos can shut down Philly today, it would be jut their fourth win in the last 20 games in Philly.
But it would be yet another step for A.J. Burnett in a comeback that is beginning to gain national attention and erase negative memories for the pitcher who looks like the Bucs ace.