Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More on the Jorge Posada game-calling story, and my thoughts on the Nationals series

The story on whether Yankee pitchers pitch better without Jorge Posada behind the plate is gaining momentum.

Tyler Kepner wrote an article in today's New York Times about it, noting that the Yankee pitchers' ERA when Posada is catching 6.31, while the combined ERA of Kevin Cash, Francisco Cervelli, and Jose Molina is 3.81. If you take out Chien-Ming Wang's horrendous starts, Posada's CERA is still 5.47. That's still very significant.

Tyner asked Brian Cashman about the numbers:
“Jorge is obviously that rare combination of being a catcher and an offensive player,” Cashman said Monday. “Cervelli and Molina are more one-sided, to the defensive side. I can’t really say why there’s a difference. It could be sample size. It could be that the other guys are just better defensive players.”
Squawker reader The Emperor noted that John Flaherty talked about the situation on Brandon Tierney's ESPN radio show today. So I listened to the podcast.

While the Yankee broadcaster seemed to think the controversy was overblown and "unfair," he also said Posada calls the game based on "what he would look for as a hitter," rather than basing it "exactly on scouting reports." Michael Kay also said similar things in his radio show.

If that is indeed the case, no wonder the Red Sox have the Yankees' number. They don't need to do any scouting on pitchers; all they have to do is just figure out what Jorge would be looking for!

Flaherty suggested a meeting with the pitchers and Posada to work out any issues they might have. Good idea.

Squawker friend J-Boogie of Baseball and the Boogie Down broke down the numbers of the Yankee catchers, and came to the conclusion that Cervelli should get more playing time. Here are two very interesting statistics he noted:
Won/Loss Record With Each Catcher
Jorge Posada: 15-11 (.577)
Jose Molina: 5-8 (.385)
Kevin Cash: 5-2 (.714)
Francisco Cervelli: 11-6 (.647)

Won/Loss Record on Which Pitcher Got Win
Jorge Posada: 9-10 rotation/6-1 bullpen
Jose Molina: 3-3 rotation/2-5 bullpen
Kevin Cash: 3-2 rotation/2-0 bullpen
Francisco Cervelli: 7-1 rotation/4-5 bullpen
J-Boogie uses more numbers and data to make his case here.

Posada will be catching CC Sabathia tonight. If CC has a bad game, I would expect this story to gain even more momentum.

* * *

One other note - I am not as confident as some other Yankee fans that the Bombers will kill the Washington Nationals this week. Yes, the Nats are the worst team in baseball. But they have three pitchers the Yankees don't know, and they have a bunch of guys, like Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman, who could very well hit an awful lot of homers in the new Yankee Stadium.

Besides, three years ago, I went down to Washington, D.C. for the Saturday and Sunday Nationals/Yankees games, only to see the Nationals have two walkoff wins in a row against the Yanks! (Squawker reader Uncle Mike was also at the series!)

So, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Yanks lose a game or two (or, heaven forbid, three!) to the Nationals. Well, they probably won't lose three. But two isn't out of the realm of possibility.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!


Uncle Mike said...

Hmmmm... It looks like the starters are trusting Cervelli more, but the bullpen trusts Posada a LOT more. Or... is it just Mariano? Let's see if someone can find catcher's ERAs with Mo, and see what happens.

I know some pitchers have had "personal catchers," but I'd hate to think of Posada coming in only for Mo in the 9th, especially while he's still one of the top five hitting catchers in the game.

On that 2006 Yanks-Nats series, I was at the Saturday game, but only that one. It was one of three events, all baseball games, that I saw at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, home of the Nats 2005-08, the "new" Senators 1962-71, the NFL's Redskins 1961-96 and the soccer team D.C. United since 1996. (They've actually succeeded the 'Skins as the yard's most successful franchise.) On TV, it made a great football facility. In person, it made for a strange and uncomfortable ballpark.

I haven't yet been to Nationals Park. If the Yankees play there next year, I'm going. It shouldn't be too hard to get tickets.

Anyway, that Saturday game, I sat at the very back of the first level, under the upper-deck overhang, behind a senior-citizen (I won't call them "elderly") couple, originally Reds fans from Kentucky, but they'd moved to D.C.'s Virginia suburbs and became Nats fans. They couldn't have been more polite, and I tried to be the same. It would have been pointless to rub it in when it was 8-2 Yanks, but when it became 9-8 Nats, I felt sick.

The next day, back in Newark, was Zimmerman's walkoff against a valiant, bullpen-saving Wang. (I don't recall growing older, when did he?) I heard that on my Walkman as I watched the Newark Bears get pounded by a team that no longer exists.

Should we be worried about the Nats? Not really, for two reasons: It's not September, and we are not the Mets.

Maybe Zimmerman and/or Dunn will homer tonight, but CC will keep it steady otherwise. 7-3 Yanks.

Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

How did the decision to send down Jose Veras over Brett Tomko was made? I mean, very tough decision, anytime Veras was called he made me very nervous.
But Tomko and Angel Berroa are seldomly used. I just hope that the next players to be discarded come from this pair and not someone sent down because he still has options.

Subway Squawkers said...

Yeah, I would have preferred they kept another pitcher and DFAed Berroa. Especially with all the work the bullpen has gotten as of late.

Speaking of which, Girardi needs to give A-Rod a day off. He hasn't had one since he returned, and he looks like he needs one.

"Nutball Gazette" said...

The Nats TV guys are praising big time Posada and his numbers during the Decade, Also lots of praise for Jeter and the new Stadium.

Louise said...


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