Tagged: Francisco Cervelli

Francisco Cervelli, and why it’s time for A.J. Burnett to heed the call

Topic: Francisco Cervelli
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From the time of his first hit of his career on May 8th, I’ve really liked the young, energetic catcher the Yankees have found in Francisco Cervelli. With the .370 average he had posted by May 19th, I was convinced that Molina did not deserve the catching spot above this kid, and that we had come across some sort of backstop-Messiah. 
My excitement was spurned on by a slew of headlines; “Cervelli earning respect with Yankees,”  and earlier this season; “Cervelli earns rave reviews from Yanks”. He was a force of the youthful energy, the same vibe that led to the explosive four game, three-walk-off routing of the Twins that marked a turning point in the season. 
When he cooled down, I kept a dogmatic faith in him, but the quieter, rational side of my brain was telling me that he had just debuted hot. We were now going to see the .190 hitter of Trenton. 
In a way, we did. By June 11, his average had dropped to .269, (still hitting better than Alex Rodriguez), and the excitement of May had deserted him so far In June, as Posada had returned to take his spot. So when today he went 3 for 5, I got pumped. Without overreacting, the combination of him in the nine hole, and Jeter in the one hole could turn into something special. They together went 7 for 9. If they did that on occasion, they could win games. 
The Calling of A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett has been suffering from a very specific ailing that easily summarizes his career. That is inconsistency. And with today’s seven-inning masterpiece, he continues his volatile up-and-down ride that he’s been on since April 25. 
Without missing the point – that he pitched brilliantly today – we must confront the issue. If A.J. Burnett cannot pull himself out of this roller-coaster performance as we head into late June, he puts the summer that the Yankees look forward to in serious jeopardy. It is apparent that we cannot rely only on C.C. Sabathia for the Yankee’s success. 
Of course he is not the sole inconsistent member of the rotation. Joba could do with some straightening out, and no one wants to talk about Wang. But, if Burnett could pitch like like his stuff suggests he can, the change will be significantly more than just one more good pitcher.
And what better place to start than with the way he pitched against the Mets today. 
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