If this is what A.J. Burnett pitches like with a hernia, just think what he could do at full strength.
The veteran pitcher – who is suffering from an inguinal hernia – shut down the Arizona Diamondbacks for eight innings this afternoon, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 2-0 victory. Perhaps more significantly, the victory gave the Phillies a 2-1 series victory, and a winning record (6-4) on their ten-game West Coast road trip.
Since officially being diagnosed with a hernia, Burnett has been masterful. He’s claimed that the injury has helped him concentrate on his delivery and not overthrow the ball, and it certainly appears to be working. It almost makes you wonder if the Phillies should recommend that a couple of their struggling relievers suffer injuries of their own.
The Phillies needed Burnett to be good. For the third straight game, they struggled against an unimposing Diamondbacks starter. Brandon McCarthy entered the game with an 0-4 record and ERA over 5, but the Phillies could only manage two runs in his seven innings. McCarthy is not known as a strikeout pitcher, yet he fanned 12 Phillies hitters.
Sometimes a team needs their starting pitcher to steal a win, and that’s exactly what Burnett did. Thanks to two off days this week, he won’t make his next start until next Sunday when he faces the Nationals. Even though he’s been on fire lately, Burnett probably welcomes the chance to receive a little bit of extra rest.
The entire team will be off until Tuesday when they host the Mets for a two-game series. Hopefully the momentum from the West Coast trip carries over against their division rival.