The $16 million man makes his Phillies debut tonight against young Rangers lefty Martin Perez.
Sure it came with a high price tag, but just one year guaranteed for a pitcher who's made 61 starts with a 3.41 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 3.02 K/BB ratio in the last two years? Sign me up.
Tonight, the 37-year-old will be unveiled.
Burnett is coming off a poor spring (6.05 ERA, 19.1 IP, 22 H, 12 K, 9 BB), but that shouldn't be cause for concern. The veteran right-hander had similar struggles with the Pirates last spring (7.36 ERA, 1.55 WHIP) but came out of the chute strong and finished April with a 2.83 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 48 K's in 35 innings.
As a former member of the Blue Jays and Yankees, Burnett has pitched his fair share of games in Arlington. In seven starts there, he's 3-1 with a 4.46 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and a .244 opponents' average. Current Ranges are hitting .244 off him.
Sure, the Phillies shellacked young right-hander Tanner Scheppers — who couldn't throw a strike — yesterday, but they'll get their first real test tonight against Venezuelan lefty Martin Perez.
Perez, 22, also had a rough spring (6.23 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 13 IP, 8 K, 8 BB) but was one of the Rangers' best pitchers down the stretch last season, going 7-3 with a 3.19 ERA from July 31 forward.
Fortunately for the Phillies, Perez isn't particularly nasty against lefties — .269/.276 vs. LHB/RHB in his career — but it's still not difficult to envision Ryan Howard lunging at his low-and-outside slider. Hopefully, the Big Piece can duplicate some of that new-found discipline he showed at the plate Monday.
- Where Howard bats in the order. Ryne Sandberg liked to slot him fifth against lefties in the spring, which he'll hopefully do again. Howard is batting .173 off southpaws the past two seasons.
- Burnett vs. Adrian Beltre & Prince Fielder. The Texas duo is a combined 14 for 48 (.292) against him with six doubles and three homers.
- J-Roll at the dish. Sandberg insisted Jimmy Rollins wasn't thinking homer before his grand slam on Monday, but Jimmy admitted he was. The skipper wants his shortstop thinking more line drives and ground balls, but Rollins seems more likely to continue pointing his follow-through at the clouds. For the record, he hit three fly balls (including his homer), two ground balls and struck out once yesterday.
Here are tonight's lineups:
1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Jimmy Rollins, SS
3. Chase Utley, DH
4. Marlon Byrd, RF
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Carlos Ruiz, C
7. John Mayberry Jr., LF
8. Jayson Nix, 3B
9. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
1. Shin-Soo Choo (L), LF
2. Elvis Andrus (R), SS
3. Prince Fielder (L), 1B
4. Adrian Beltre (R), 3B
5. Alex Rios (R), RF
6. Mitch Moreland (L), DH
7. Donnie Murphy (R), 2B
8. Leonys Martin (L), CF
9. Robinson Chirinos (R), C