On Sept. 26, 2005, A.J. Burnett ripped the Marlins after a 5-3 loss against Atlanta. “We played scared. We managed scared. We coached scared,” he said. “I’m sick of it, man. It’s depressing around here. A 3–0 ballgame, I give up one run and leave guys on base, it’s like they expect us to mess up. And when we do, they chew us out. There is no positive, nothing around here for anybody.”
The Marlins sent Burnett home the next day, suspending him for the rest of the season.
Burnett was scheduled to start on Sept. 30, 2005. Instead the Marlins had a 21-year-old September call-up named Josh Johnson make his first Major League start. He pitched well, allowing two runs over 5.1 innings for the win.
Burnett signed with the Blue Jays that winter and is now with the Yankees. Tonight will be his first start against the Marlins since he burned every bridge on his way out town. A.J. is second in team history (to Dontrelle Willis) in wins, starts, innings and strikeouts.
The guy he’ll face tonight? Josh Johnson. He is 25-12, 3.33 in his career including 6-1, 2.76 this season. He’s the best pitcher the Marlins have developed since Burnett was pitching with Josh Beckett.
In the tumultuous career of Allan James Burnett, tonight is a very interesting game. He’s probably going to be either very, very good or very, very bad.