• Burnett Yanks Biggest Choker This Post-Season?

    Posted by on November 3rd, 2009 · Comments (17)

    I know that Nick Swisher, to date, has ALDS/ALCS/WS batting averages of .083/.150/.167 this post-season. And, Robbie Cano’s mark is .167/.261/.167, to date. Also, Mark Teixeira’s line is .167/.222/.105 through Game 5 of the World Series. But, has any Yankee “choked” this off-season as much as A.J. Burnett?

    Yeah, there’s Phil Hughes…facing 33 batters so far this post-season and allowing 15 of them to reach base…

    And, true, Burnett had an effective start in the ALDS and a very good start in Game Two of this World Series…

    But, look at Game Five in both the ALCS and the World Series this year. Both times, the Yankees were up, three games to one, with a chance to finish off the series with A.J. Burnett on the hill.

    What happened? In Game Five of the ALCS, Burnett allowed four runs in the first inning. And, in Game Five of the World Series, Burnett allowed six runs before he could retire his seventh batter.

    Talk about being in the spotlight and just melting…

    Burnett may be a great teammate and all that; but, when it comes to being in a big spot, I don’t feel comfortable with him on the mound…based on these two Game Five situations…do you?

    Comments on Burnett Yanks Biggest Choker This Post-Season?

    1. Evan3457
      November 3rd, 2009 | 11:12 pm

      Let me see…three good games, one of them a great start in a tight game, and two bad ones.

      And Burnett’s a choker?

      That’s absurdly unfair.

      I mean, was there no pressure on him for his Game 2 start on Thursday? When a loss would’ve put the Yanks behind 2-0, needing to win 4 of 5, and heading to Philadelphia and needing to win at least 2 of 3, with Lee waiting in Game 5?

      Steve, I really think you’re way off base on this one.

    2. KPOcala
      November 3rd, 2009 | 11:49 pm

      I agree with “Evan3457”, Burnett isn’t the biggest “choker” (although he really can’t “pitch” w/o his best stuff). IMHO, Cano “The Choker” has been infuriating to watch. Terrible AB’s and his fielding doesn’t seem to have the range or fluidity that he exhibited during the regular season. Next in line would have to be Tex, although his defense is still outstanding….

    3. KPOcala
      November 3rd, 2009 | 11:58 pm


      Swisher has taken a lot of heat, but he was almost an afterthought at the beginning of the season, a great pick-up, and basically is a 7-8 hole hitter in a very lethal lineup. I can’t understand the terrible bashing that the media has given him while the aforementioned Cano, Tex, et al have barely been touched…One more thing about Cano, his lack of hitting with RISP during the season is really magnified during the play-offs, he’s killing the team.

    4. Evan3457
      November 4th, 2009 | 2:23 am

      I wouldn’t exactly say that Cano is “killing” the team, or anyone else is killing the team, for that matter.

      They are, after all, up 3 games to 2 in the World Series, and stand an excellent chance of winning it all.

    5. jeter96
      November 4th, 2009 | 7:05 am

      Totally off base.

      Game 2 when down 0-1 is a bigger game than game 5 when up 3-1.

    6. jeter96
      November 4th, 2009 | 7:07 am

      If anything, it just highlights why most people didnt want to see him pitch any games on the road.
      He cant seem to stay poised on the road.

    7. ken
      November 4th, 2009 | 7:55 am

      jeter96 wrote:

      Game 2 when down 0-1 is a bigger game than game 5 when up 3-1.

      Agreed. The worst you can say about AJ is that he is inconsistent. No surprise there. But you just can’t use the C word after his performance in game 2. No way.

    8. MJ
      November 4th, 2009 | 8:25 am

      I think we’ve seen two extremes in this thread. On one hand Steve is calling AJ the biggest choker and on the other people are saying AJ’s not a choker at all.

      The truth is, AJ IS a choker. In his two road starts so far he’s been worse than horrible and in both spots the Yanks could’ve closed out a series. He didn’t just get beat, he got his brains bashed in and looked completely out of sorts and out of control. That’s choking.

      But he’s not the BIGGEST choker. That is undoubtedly Mark Teixeira or Robinson Cano, two incredibly important players for the Yanks. Neither has been able to do a damn thing at the plate and both have come up with RISP several times thus far in October/November. Teixeira, in particular, has been a complete turd in the post-season. He looks completely lost at the plate, staring at fastballs for strike 1/2 and never trying to change the pattern, going for a hittable pitch early in the count.

      Teixeira has been passive in his approach and then expands the zone when he’s down 0-2. I like him and his glove has been tremendous but his bat is worthless and he’s contributed absolutely nothing to the team offensively. That’s choking.

    9. Raf
      November 4th, 2009 | 9:10 am

      It’s AJ being AJ. Whether that means he’s a choker or not is a different story.

    10. Corey
      November 4th, 2009 | 9:13 am

      Raf wrote:

      It’s AJ being AJ.

      To me, that’s exactly it. He’s the epitome of the girl with the curl.

    11. Evan3457
      November 4th, 2009 | 11:50 am

      I’m sorry, but if a guy comes through HUGE in one tough spot, and then fails in another big spot, I can’t call him a choker.

      “Choker” is a description of a man’s character. Does a man’s character change from non-choker in Game 2 of the ALCS to choker in game 5 of the ALCS to clutch in Game 2 of the World Series and back to choker again in game 5 of the World Series?

      I mean, come on, no one’s character changes that rapidly or often.

      It’s just us, projecting our emotions onto the import of the moment.

      Player X had a bad game when WE really needed him not to, ergo, he’s a choker.

    12. MJ
      November 4th, 2009 | 12:01 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      I don’t see “choking” as descriptive word for one’s character but as a descriptive word for failing to produce in a moment of high importance. That’s just my personal definition and yours may vary.

      In my mind, Burnett choked in Game 5 of the ALCS. He followed it up with a great game in Game 2 of the WS and then followed that up with another choke-job in Game 5 of the WS. In two big spots, he flopped.

      Derek Jeter has choked a few times himself. So have countless others. I guess we’re just not on the same page with the definition…

    13. MJ
      November 4th, 2009 | 12:04 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      The definition from Merrian-Webster:

      “to lose one’s composure and fail to perform effectively in a critical situation.”

      Hard to say that Game 5 of the ALCS/WS wasn’t a critical situation and hard to say that Burnett’s performance doesn’t meet the definition pretty accurately.

      The definition doesn’t say anything about repeated failures or “choking” being a character trait. It merely says to flop in a big spot. Teixeira’s done nothing but choke in October/November, as has Cano.

      I don’t think it’s wrong to say AJ has choked.

    14. November 4th, 2009 | 3:14 pm

      A.J. Burnett beat Pedro Martinez in Game 2 of the World Series, the day after Cliff Lee and the Phillies humiliated the Yankees. If the Yanks had lost that night, this series would have a very different look to it. I’ll take that choker Burnett on my team any time.

    15. MJ
      November 4th, 2009 | 3:16 pm

      lisaswan wrote:

      I’ll take that choker Burnett on my team any time.

      Not saying I don’t want him, just saying that to pretend he didn’t choke in Game 5 of ALCS/WS is factually inaccurate.

    16. November 4th, 2009 | 5:19 pm

      @MJ: What is choking, anyway? Did Burnett wilt under the spotlight – which arguably was just as/if not more intense in Game 2 at Yankee Stadium? No, he just stunk – whether it be for him having less rest, or him being very bad (as he’s been known to do) or whatever. Stinking does not equal choking.

      Can we all at least wait until the Yankees lose the World Series before deeming our new person to give A-Rod’s now-removed goat horns to?

    17. MJ
      November 4th, 2009 | 7:22 pm

      @ lisaswan:
      You have me incorrectly pegged, Lisa. I don’t think failure requires castigation and exile. Even for all of the sub-par Octobers A-Rod had before this one, I wasn’t interested in killing him and I’m no more interested in doing so now with AJ (or Teixeira or Cano, for that matter).

      But I don’t agree that stinking doesn’t equal choking. In two of his last three starts of the year, AJ pitched in big-moment games. In two of those three games, he stunk to high heaven. If you want to look at Game 5 of the LCS/WS as not a choke, that’s fine, but I don’t see how you can. He didn’t perform in a big spot (two, actually) and I’m not sure I get what you’re trying to say. How can you separate stinking from choking anyway?

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