A.J. Burnett walked six Mets last night, helping fuel the five earned runs they scored off the Phillies starter in an effort to play a baseball game forever. Fortunately, Reid Brignac dealt with that malicious plot, and New York made a real Mets of things in the bottom of the 14th.
"I've got some work to do," Burnett said. "The walks. Two a game is fine. Six? No."
Burnett has successfully suppressed his BB/9 under three only once in his very long career - in 2012, with the Pirates (2.76). Since his Major League debut, his BB% has hung out mostly in the 9-10% range, though in the last two years it's settled in at 7.3% and 8.4%, respectively (currently it sits at 11.5%). However, his current K/BB ratio, 1.73 is actually the lowest it's been since 2001, when he started 27 games for the Marlins and kept it down at 1.54.
The point is, A.J. Burnett just walks people. He walks lead-off hitters, he walks two-hole hitters. In the AL, he walked DH's. In the NL, he walks pitchers. He'd walk the opposing manager if he was on the field during the lineup exchange. In the morning, his kids yell at him that they're going to miss the bus as he stands there in the kitchen, walking them.
Walking is a part of Burnett's game. Is it a bad part? Yes it is. It's nice to hear it addressed but it's difficult to picture him without them, honestly. The good news is, he seems to striking guys out enough to at least counteract himself part of the time.
If throwing more pitches and giving up fewer base runners could be added to Burnett's game, it would go a long way in making his starts better and shorter, but with such an aspect ground into his game at 37 years old, he's not suddenly going to become a master of control.
Does A.J. Burnett even have kids.