Can a catcher be blamed for poor pitching? According to the New York Times, and in the case of the New York Yankees, it can.
According to the Times, there is a striking difference in pitching statistics when Jorge Posada catches. With Posada behind the plate, the Yankees' pitchers have a 6.31 ERA The combined ERA with Francisco Cervelli(notes), Jose Molina(notes) and Kevin Cash(notes) is 3.81.
Posada has caught four starts by Chien-Ming Wang(notes), whose job status is now evaluated on a game-by-game basis. Even removing those starts, the staff's ERA with Posada is still high, at 5.47.
The Times reported that A.J. Burnett(notes), in particular, seems to struggle with Posada. In Burnett's four starts pitching to Posada, opponents have batted .330. In nine starts with the other catchers, the average is .223. When he lost a six-run lead in Boston in April, Burnett questioned the pitch selection, though he blamed himself, not Posada. Asked Sunday about the difference in pitching to the rookie Cervelli, Burnett gave a careful but revealing answer.
"I think it's just a matter of — I don't know if it's the catcher — but we threw curveballs in fastball counts, we had them looking for something and they had no idea what was coming, I don't think," Burnett said. "That's huge."
What do you guys think?