Wednesday, October 6, 2010

With Jorge Posada, do the Yankees have a brewing catcher controversy?

I was on Albany's Sound Off With Sinkoff radio show yesterday, and one of the things I told host Brian Sinkoff that I'm worried about regarding the Yankees these days is Jorge Posada's apparent inability to throw out baserunners anymore.

Remember, not only did the Red Sox steal four bases off him in the ninth inning in the last Yankees-Red Sox series at the Stadium, but they also had two double steals off him in the season finale, including the Sox's first steal of home since Jacoby Ellsbury did it against Posada and the Yankees last year.

Anyhow, New York Post columnist Joel Sherman had some interesting stats about Posada today:

The Red Sox failed to make the playoffs, but they do get this concession prize: Their going-away gift for the 2010 campaign was showing the rest of the postseason field how to bedevil their most hated rival:
Run on Jorge Posada and then run some more.

Boston went 18-for-18 stealing bases against Posada this year and 44 out of 61 against every other opponent. The Red Sox all but handed their scouting report to playoff teams late in the year, going 16-for-16 against Posada over five games from Aug. 9 until the final game of the season. In that span, Boston had games of four, five and six steals. Only one other time in the last two years had the Red Sox successfully stolen even four bases against any other team.

Were you watching Minnesota? Did you see how the Red Sox grew more brazen and Posada’s throws even more scattered and unappealing?
An aside -- this is why I find Joel Sherman such a frustrating columnist. He'll do all sorts of whiny, overwrought analysis, then he'll do a great fact-based, original column like this to make you think. These stats are really illuminating, as is the fact that Posada had 72 bases stolen against him this year in 83 games, and only caught 15% of baserunners. That caught-stealing rate is the worst of his career.

Anyhow, it gets worse. Here are some quotes Sherman got yesterday (emphasis added):

But pitching coach Dave Eiland said the flaw was not Posada’s alone, insisting the staff “had a lack of concentration (on the running game) down the stretch. We haven’t paid attention the way we should.” 

Posada went further in assessing blame, saying, “They ran on the pitching. There was not an opportunity to get any of those guys.”

I don't know what's worse -- Eiland blaming this problem on the pitchers not having their head in the game, or Posada throwing his batterymates under the bus like he did, and failing to take any responsibility. Good grief.

Unless Posada was pretending to not throw the Sox out, to make it look like his arm was shot (remember Brian Cashman saying that the Yanks were holding back their big plays), this is really bad news for the Yankees. And Francisco Cervelli hasn't been any great shakes behind the dish this year, either -- he has 13 errors and has only thrown out 14% of baserunners.

It's possible that it is indeed partly the pitchers' fault, which makes one wonder why they don't have their head in the game. But for Posada to refuse to take one bit of blame is a bit much. When the Sox double-steal on you twice in one game, you just might have a little something to do with it.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Uncle Mike said...

Simple: Keep them off first base, and they won't steal second. With A.J. in the pen and Jopeless Javy off the roster completely, instead of us worrying about Jorge's arm, the Twins better worry about his bat.

Steven said...

My view is that Posada should not play catcher at all in the post season. Did you see that throw to the pitcher (or at least in the direction of the pithcer) that set up the out at home in the first game of the doubleheader? Whoa.

Clearly getting a catcher with some defensive skills is a major issue fot this off season.

Lisa Swan said...

Joel Sherman had a followup to his piece in his blog today:

He actually pondered whether the Yanks should start Cervelli tonight, noting:

"But also what is troubling about Posada right now is his offense, which had always been the counterweight to suspect defense. He hit .148 since Sept. 6, and that includes a 1-for-16 vs. lefties – and Minnesota starts southpaw Francisco Liriano in tonight’s opener.

Here is a quick quiz question: Which Yankee led the team in batting average against lefties?

OK, this is a blog, there really is not much of an avenue to stall, so the answer is Francisco Cervelli at .322."

Search This Blog