The Pittsburgh Pirates acquisition of A.J. Burnett was a major storyline for the 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates. The story started badly when Burnett broke his orbital bone during a bunting competition.
But Burnett came back like a man possessed. And the Pirates got on a roll behind their scowling, hard throwing unquestioned leader. The right hander got on a serious roll as the Pirates captured the hearts of Zoltan loving Yinzers who filled up PNC Park.
The Bucs were back and A.J. Burnett was a big reason why. A near miss no-hitter…win after win. God, those were some good times.
Check out our poor attempt at a 2012 infographic:
A.J. Burnett 2012 Infographic
It was so surreal because nobody saw it coming. The Pirates were in contention. It wasn’t because of the much touted young arms we heard so much about. The success was because the starting pitching was doing enough to keep the club in games early as Andrew McCutchen and the offense peaked in June and July.
Burnett took James McDonald under his wing and the pair soared during the first half of the season.
It got so damn good that the Pirates club actually sold tickets for the postsesason. Most everyone felt that the curse was over.
But it seems the Pirates losing streak just won’t end–like Jason Voorhees appearing out of the darkness– the losing and the subsuquent stories about the losing always return. The jokes never end.
The collapse was hard on all of us. The loss on the final day of the season against Atlanta was especially pathetic. The team seemed disinterested. Early in the game, we saw Burnett staring at his fingers like he had a blister or something. Maybe losing six of his last seven starts was just getting under his skin.
We know it did ours.
But remember this, it wasn’t like Burnett just faded away in 2012. He allowed just 15 runs in his last seven starts. On September 12 and 18, he gave up two runs against the Reds (2-1 loss) and Brewers (6-0 loss.) Burnett, ever the workhorse, then went eight innings and gave up one run twice in his last three starts (including that 1-0 shutout against the hated Reds.)
So, go ahead and write it down, A.J. Burnett will have some things to take care of in 2013.
A few sit the fu#k downs being barked at opposing hitters here or there in 2013 would be a good thing. When was the last time a Pirates pitcher had the ability to intimidate opposing hitters?
We can’t believe that A.J. Burnett felt good about the way the 2012 season ended, his run support down the stretch vanished.
Let’s trust he can do something about it in 2013.
It would be a good season to die hard.