Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An A.J. Burnett Elimination Game

And so it was written. And so it has come to pass.

Ever since the rainout on Friday night, this series has unfolded with the inevitability of a Rube Goldberg contraption. The little ball had started rolling, it was about to knock into some lever, a chicken was going to lay an egg, and eventually A.J. Burnett would start an elimination game. You could see it happening but could do nothing to prevent it.

The Yankees' lack of foresight has led us here: first including A.J. Burnett on the post-season roster, and then a series of Joe Girardi moves that harmed the team in two winnable games.

But here we are.

It's dark. It's freezing cold. We've reached our end.

Waking up the morning of an A.J. Burnett elimination game is like being a time traveler bound by the rules of The Butterfly Effect -- so you can travel back into the past, but can't do anything to change events as they occur.

We are forced to go back in time to witness history's greatest tragedies and disasters but we are powerless to stop them. Look: the Hindenburg is going down. Over there: the Enola Gay is approaching Hiroshima. Sirhan Sirhan is wrapping a poster around his revolver. And look: rats carrying plague-infested fleas are crawling onto merchant ships headed toward Europe. Lo: worst of all, a blond figure approaches a pitching mound in Detroit, ball in hand.

This season, A.J. Burnett put up the following stunning numbers:

1.43 WHIP
3.9 BB/9
5.15 ERA
17% HR/Flyball Rate

And now, the season rests on his "electric" right arm, bottle blond head and empty brain.

After last night's game, Burnett said: “I had good games, bad games during the season. You can say the same thing about the postseason, but you can’t count me out. I’m going to bring everything I’ve got, and just let A.J. loose out there."

Wonderful. I shudder to think what letting A.J. loose comprises. Will it lead to a 30-run inning for the Tigers?

Regardless, at least the hope is gone. There's no more stress, because there's no possibility of things turning out other than they will. A.J. Burnett is going to ruin the Yankees' season, again, as he was always meant to do. Free will is dead.