Posada, CC have signs crossed up
Second passed ball leads to run for Twins in third
NEW YORK -- One hundred and thirteen times during the Yankees' 7-2 victory over the Twins in the American League Division Series opener on Wednesday, Jorge Posada laid down a sign and anticipated a pitch. One hundred and eleven times, CC Sabathia delivered the pitch that Posada was expecting.
But those other two pitches proved rather problematic, resulting in two passed balls and one unearned run in what was otherwise a stellar Game 1 effort.
"We got crossed up a couple times," Sabathia said. "One time was his fault. One time was mine. It's one of those things that happens during the game."
The first cross-up, during Joe Mauer's at-bat in the first inning, was Posada's fault. That one proved harmless, though, when Sabathia struck out Mauer and retired Michael Cuddyer on a flyout to end the inning.
|Gm. 1||NYY 7, MIN 2||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 2||NYY 4, MIN 3 (11)||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 3||NYY 4, MIN 1||Wrap||Video|
The second cross-up, during Jason Kubel's at-bat in the third, was Sabathia's fault. And that one was a bit more troublesome.
With Mauer on third base and two outs, Sabathia threw an outside fastball that Posada expected to break toward the inner half of the plate. Instead, it caromed off the catcher's glove and toward the first-base dugout, where Posada attempted to retrieve it.
"I came to the mound, and I told him what I wanted him to throw," Posada said. "And when I got to the plate, he threw a different pitch."
Posada, after losing track of the baseball and thinking Mauer had already scored, took his time retrieving the ball. And Mauer, believing Posada was about to pounce on it, hesitated between third and home. The result was a quick toss and a play at the plate, where Mauer slid just under Sabathia's tag.
"It was kind of a different angle," Mauer said. "At first, I didn't see how far it was going to go. Then when I saw how far it went, I decided to take a chance."
In the greater picture of Game 1, the passed balls and resulting run hardly mattered -- the Yankees still managed to pound out seven runs of their own and win by a cozy five-run margin. But it did illuminate what is becoming a matter of contention within the ranks.
Earlier this week, Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Posada that he would not catch A.J. Burnett in Friday's Game 2. For much of this season, Posada -- who was clearly miffed at the decision -- and Burnett have disagreed on pitch selection, resulting in some similar cross-ups and inconsistent statistics.
It is likely that Wednesday's passed balls were an unrelated, isolated incident. But the Yankees can ill afford to have a similar situation between their starting catcher and ace.
"It was miscommunication on their part," Girardi said, dousing that fire. "They talked about the pitch they were going to throw and the pitch wasn't thrown. I'm not sure what happened in the translation. But I thought the two did a nice job together tonight."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.