A.J. Burnett was left in for too long in the third inning. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
A.J. Burnett didn't have a good day. He was rocked in the third inning, but the struggles started before that. James Santelli has the full breakdown of what led to Burnett's struggles on the day. That poor third inning, combined with the fact that Burnett was struggling prior to the inning, raises the question of why he wasn't pulled earlier.
Things didn't look good when he walked Adam Wainwright to start the inning. That was followed by a single from Matt Carpenter past a diving Neil Walker. Things really started to fall apart when Carlos Beltran crushed a three-run homer, putting the Cardinals up 3-0 with no outs and the heart of the order up.
That's when I would have gone to the bullpen. Not to replace Burnett, because you don't pull one of your top pitchers in the third inning, even after a three-run homer. You let him try to battle back. However, Burnett had been shaky the whole day, so...
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.