Offense vs Defense! Jorge Posada or Jose Molina? Normally your first instinct is to go to Posada. And why not, Posada brings play-offs experience and instant offense to the Yankees. Posada is the only Major League catcher to ever have hit .330 or better with 40 doubles, 20 home runs, and 90 RBIs in a single season. Jorge Posada is a legitimate switch-hitting power hitter and in the clutch, he's money at the plate.
Sorry to disappoint you but Jose Molina is starting. Why?
REASON NO. 1 : Statistics don't lie!
Let's look at the statistics of Burnett when Posada is behind the plate:
- In 16 starts throwing to Posada, Burnett held opposing batters to a .270 average, going 5-5 with a 4.96 ERA in those games.
- In 11 starts with Molina, Burnett held opposing batters to only .221 average, going 5-2 with 3.28 ERA in those games.
During the season, Jose Molina spent most of his time on the bench. That gave him a great amount of time to talk to the pitching starting staff. Molina jokes with them, ask them their likes and dislikes, and knowing where they are comfortable with. It just happen Burnett and Molina started to click. They were able to build trust. Through consistency of playing together as battery mates they were able to get a rhythm that generated good outcome.
REASON NO. 3: "DEFENSE!"
Remember what happened in game 1 of the ALDS? Posada has two past ball that made Yankee Manager Joe Girardi worried. Errors should must be maintain to a minimum especially in the post-season. There is no debate here that Molina is a defensive upgrade. Not only does Molina catches better but he is also good in throwing out runners. A technique where the Twins want to take advantage of. The Twins plays small ball to compensate their lack of offense at the bottom of the order. With Molina behind the plate, the Twins will think twice before they run.
It's a big gutsy move on the part of the Yankee Manager Joe Girardi. Losing Posada's bat and if Burnett doesn't pitch well, Girardi will face scrutiny. But Girardi, who was the personal catcher for both Andy Pettitte and David Cone in the 1998 post-season, knows very well that in order to win games you should know where their players strength are. Burnett is much of a better pitcher with Molina as his battery mate.
During the 1998 season, Girardi only hit .238 but he managed to win 5 games and capturing the World Series crown. The pitchers that he used to catch (Pettitte and Cone) performed well during those games.
It's not like we are not going to see Posada in the entire game. Posada can replace Molina when Burnett is relieved of duty. Yes, the Yankees will miss Posada's offense. But that is only on 6-7 innings span. We have to make a gamble at some point. Do you want Posada in the line-up and Burnett having 5 earned runs in 6 innings, or with Molina hitting 0-4 but gaving Burnett 7-8 good innings with 1 run? All Burnett has to do is to keep the runs low for 6-7 innings and let Hughes-Rivera combination close it out.
We just have to trust the rest of the line-up to produce while Posada is out for 6-7 innings. With the line-up that the Yankees have, losing Posada is not so bad. Everybody in the Yankees batting order can hit. That's our advantage.
It's the defense that we need to give attention to. Defense wins championships! Keep the opponents offense at bay. Offense will follow.