July 29, 2008

A. JAY Burnett

It was billed as possibly his final start in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform. If it was, he went out in style. But it won't be. The Jays have their sights set on the wild card, and A.J. Burnett's sticking around for the ride.

I must admit, I am quite enamored by these developments. I've become rather fond of good old A.J.

I took in the game last night from the ridiculously cheap 500 level at the Dome, and Burnett was well worth the $9 ticket price. He was at his filthy best. He struck out the side in the first inning and booked a free slice of pizza for the fans after only the first three frames. He finished with 10 Ks and allowed only one run. And it was unearned, to boot.

A $9, third-row seat in the upper deck, and a free slice of pizza. It doesn't get much better than that, folks.

If Burnett hasn't won you over yet, I fear he never will. The guy pitched his tail off again last night. He got into some trouble on a few occasions, and dealt with a brutal call by the third-base umpire, but he battled. He made big pitches and big plays, like picking off Eric Hinske at first base, when he needed them. A.J.'s now got as many wins - 12 - as that Roy Halladay guy. And that Halladay guy is supposedly pretty damn good.

For more on the recent exploits of Burnett, check out Mike Wilner's blog.

For the first time as a Blue Jay, Burnett's healthy, he's chucking, and he's winning. That's the bottom line. Sure, the opt-out in his contract looms large, but we can't worry about it anymore. He's not being traded. We've got a pennant race to worry about now.

Now I know we're six and a half games out, but fuck it feels good to write that.

We've got a pennant race to worry about now.

The offence didn't deliver much support last night (shocking!), but A.J., along with my main men out of the bullpen, Scott Downs and B.J. Ryan, made sure it was enough. It was a huge win against Tampa Bay and James Shields, who has dominated the Blue Jays this season, and pitched well again yesterday.

Doc's on the mound tonight. I'm thinking two out three. Definitely two out of three. Hell, maybe even a sweep. Go big or go home, right?


I'm thinking playoffs.