A.J. Burnett made it a point tonight to give credit to Jorge Posada. The catcher, he said, called just enough change-ups to make his fastball and that curveball even more effective.
“He did a great job tonight. He was on page. I didn’t shake him all night,” Burnett said. “I told him he did an exceptional job back there.”
The notion that Posada is somehow hurting the Yankees with his catching gets more ridiculous by the day. Some people like to cite the ERA of a catcher, which is a badly flawed statistic. But if you’re interested, the Yankees have a 2.06 ERA in the last four games Posada has caught. Is that good enough?
Meanwhile, if you’re inclined to complain about the Yankees scoring one run tonight, know that Josh Johnson is one of the best pitchers in the game right now. He is 7-1, 2.66 and fanned Melky Cabrera with a 98-mph heater on his final pitch of the night in the seventh inning.
Johnson was throwing his slider 90 mph and threw 67 of his 103 pitches for strikes. The guy is a 6-7 horse and knows what he is doing out there. After watching the Yankees hammer fastballs on Friday night, he went to his slider more than usual.
Tyler Kepner, Mark Feinsand and I went to the Florida clubhouse after we interviewed the Yankees and Josh was nice enough to speak to us even though he had already done his interviews with the Florida media.
“That was definitely the most emotion I’ve ever showed,” he said. Johnson called his strikeout of Derek Jeter in the sixth inning one of the highlights of his career.
“I’ll remember that for the rest of my life, I’m sure” he said. “He’s one of the all-time greatest players, I think. One of the more respected players, too. That’s why I got a little emotional when I struck him out.”
Johnson was 12-7 with a 3.10 ERA in 2006. But on Sept. 12 of that season, he was sent back out to pitch after an 82-minute rain delay. Some blamed that decision by Joe Girardi, then the manager of the Marlins, on Johnson ultimately requiring Tommy John elbow surgery.
Johnson absolved Girardi, saying his elbow was tight before that and that he was determined to stay in the game. Girardi, he said, was not to blame.
“It’s something that just happened,” he said. “I was hiding from Joe, there’s no way he was taking me out of that game.”