A.J. Burnett of the New York Yankees allowed the Red Sox just two runs in 5 1/3 innings, the first time in two months that he allowed less than three runs in an outing. Burnett's problem this season come from throwing the ball down the middle of the plate:
Note the big red blob right down the pipe. Going into his last start, Burnett stated he wanted to get his pitches down. One pitch that often ended in the middle of the plate was his sinker, a pitch that really should go out of the strike zone. He got that pitch down Thursday night.
A.J. threw the pitch with more consistent downward movement, and even managed to make it dart left and right:
It should be noted that even leaving the sinker up, Burnett recorded the most success on the pitch, with a .206 BA against through the end of August. Against the better sinker, the Red Sox were 1 for 6, the one hit coming in the fifth inning when a couple were left up.
A.J. also abandonded his change up and cut fastball Thrusday night. Neither of those pitches produced good results during the season. Concentrating on throwing the sinker made that pitch better, and Burnett wound up with a more successful outing than usual.