Responsibility must be with Burnett

Friday was a sort of good Yankees day (great hitting, no pitching) and Saturday was a very bad Yankees day, which sounds like some kind of weird children’s story: “Jorge Posada and the Rumpy Grumpy Starting Pitcher.”

It does seem like Posada has had more than his share of disagreements with his starters this year, but in many ways there is a culture clash at work with the Yankees in a minor key way. The team has a new pitching staff. Few of the current pitchers — CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves, Phil Coke, David Robertson, Chad Gaudin, Damaso Marte, and Sergio Mitre (that is, just about everyone except Andy Pettitte and Brian Bruney) — have much experience being Yankees and throwing to Posada. The veterans among them have their own way of doing things. The rookies may be headstrong or timid. Posada, one senses (at least from trying to talk with him in the clubhouse), may not be the most diplomatic guy in the world. You can see how this could lead to conflict on those days when defeat wants to be an orphan. Suddenly it’s not what the pitcher threw, but what the catcher called.

When it comes to an established veteran like Burnett, the final responsibility must be with him. He certainly has the standing on the Yankees to call his own game. It’s not important that he disagrees with Posada, only that he either shake Posada off until they come to an agreement (that is, doing it Burnett’s way) or Burnett throws Posada’s selection with confidence. An in-between approach — resignedly throwing Posada’s pitch — can lead to disaster, apparently what happened yesterday.

Perhaps, though, we need not delve that far to find the source of Saturday’s discord. Burnett has rarely been a consistent pitcher. There are days his control just doesn’t show up for work, one of the reasons he currently leads the American League in walks issued. This has been a career-long problem for Burnett, and blaming his catcher would be unfair given just how many catchers have received his pitches on days like Saturday. Note that Burnett did not blame Posada. We shouldn’t either.

If you average Nick Swisher’s 2008 road stats with his 2009 home stats, you get .198/.343/.309. Miserable. If you put last year’s home stats with this year’s road stats, you get .263/.363/.552. Brilliant. I have no further comment, except to say that if the fellow could just get his concentration down in both places, he could have a 40-homer season. Of course, that he hasn’t is why he was available to the Yankees for Wilson Betamax. As with Burnett’s occasional wild days, Swisher’s oddly bifurcated production represent the invisible hand of human psychology at work on the game. 



    Sorry people, but the catcher is to blame for the saturday fiasco, if you and the pitcher can’t agree then talk!! If you still don’t agree then the manager or pitching coach HAS to step in. Yes it is that simple when you looking at a pennant and a World Series championship. Or just change the catcher, obviously this is not a NEW problem and previously other pitchers had problems with him as well. Can he hit absolutly, is he bad behind the plate without a doubt, so if we’re going to go all the way, CHANGE THE CATCHER!!!


    If you have watched every game that Posada has caught you will see that he has had many issues with the pitchers shaking off his choice of pitches. Posada also seems to have trouble blocking pitches in the ground specifically Burnett’s curve ball. Girardi should sit down with both and straighten it out before the Playoffs. We don’t want to lose a game for either of these issues.

  3. hayabusa19

    I have to agree with the comments above. Posada has not called a good game consistently. When both he and Molina were injured, Francisco Cervelli was the one behind the plate, and the way he called the game was arguably one of the bigger factors for the Yankees’ turnaround this season. When both Posada and Molina came back, that glaring difference can be seen more clearly. I would even venture to say that Molina calls a much better game, and is a better defensive option behind the plate. I don’t think it’s just with Burnett that Posada has been having problems with; Joba, and even Pettitte a few times, have had bad games with Posada behind the plate.

  4. sadaharuo

    I believe that the game-calling ability of catchers is overrated. A good pitcher gets guys out. How different can one catcher’s calling be from another? I doubt it’s really that big of a change. The pitcher has to execute. It’s true that Jorge doesn’t block balls in the dirty very well, but these other complaints against him sound like so much hogwash.
    I think that a lot of pitchers have an unspoken prejudice against catchers who can actually hit. These pitchers believe, on some level, that the only kind of catcher who calls a good game is the no-hit/all-field kind of catcher. So any time the pitcher throws a stinker of a game they fall back on blaming the slugging catcher. Because after all, that guy isn’t “really” a catcher anyway.
    You’re all going to miss Jorge when he’s gone. The love affair with Jose Molina, or someone of his ilk, will have to suffer through a lot of .650 OPS seasons.
    And when that happens you’ll be lighting up the message boards with “would it kill us to get a catcher who can hit a little? Defense and pitch-calling are nice, but how about a homerun every now and than?”


    I do have to say tht it is jorge posada’s fault, but I think it is BOTH their faults. Jorge Posada may have called some pitches that pople can hit well, which could have let in some runs. But then again, if the ball is supposed to be down and away and Burnett leaves it hanging, it could easily turn into a homerun. Explained in the game earlier 2 days ago, Burnett left some pitches hanging up in the strike zone.

    Like posted above, everybody will miss Jorge Posada, without a doubt. He may not be the BEST catcher they can get, but the way hes calling the games now and hitting, he’s the best they have got. Molina is great behind the plate, but his batting is not exactly key in his years.

  6. hateslibs

    My only ?? is how many games have we fallen behind and then lost by Posada not being able to throw out a runner? Our bench coach could do a better job at it than Jorge. We also need to get Gardner back in a hurry as Milky is in a deep swoon with his bat. Bret creates excitement when he gets on….

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