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Searching for answers

It's come to this for Joe Girardi and the Yankees:

Hoping the end of the month of August means an A.J. Burnett rebirth.

“We saw him pitch well in the beginning of 2010, then we saw him pitch well the first couple of months [this year],” Girardi said. “For whatever reason, August has been stinkers. Calendar’s going to change eventually and hopefully September’s good.”

July wasn't especially good for Burnett, who went 0-3 with a 4.83 ERA in five starts, but August was a train wreck. Coming into Friday's game Burnett was 1-1 with a 10.70 ERA in four starts this month and pitched to that resume, allowing nine runs and nine hits in five innings.

"If I didn't believe in myself I probably would be more negative and more down on myself," said Burnett, who fell to 9-11 with a 5.31 ERA. "But I know the stuff's there and I know how good I can be. It's a matter of doing it."

Obviously, he hasn't done it in some time and Burnett said he needs to face the reality that his fastball, which in his younger years hit the high-90's, now rests in the 93, 94-mph range.

"I think I need to pitch in more," Burnett said. "I think guys are sitting away and sitting hook. In the past I could get away with a lot of that, throwing 97, 98. I have great stuff still but I don't throw that hard so I need to start using  both sides of the plate more and I think that's going to help out with the hook and getting them off the fastball away." 

Which wasn't to say Burnett was looking at his last couple of months as being this-close to success.

“It’s not acceptable but the bottom line is I can’t worry about my numbers right now,” he said. “Even if I pitch great the rest of the year, I’m still going to have bad numbers. I have to get on a track, I’m going to get on a good track. I have a lot of support in this room and that’s what bothers me the most. You feel like you let guys down.”

 

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