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Pitchers And Catchers: The Game Within The Game

Latino Sports

Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you type a text and either your finger hits the wrong key, or the phone decides to put a different word into your message? Well, that’s probably what the Yankee pitcher Zack Britton and  catcher Garry Sanchez must have felt like last night in the Bronx.

What we saw, was another example of how mixed up the signal calling is with this team. With Britton on the mound in the ninth with two outs and Red Sox catcher Christian Vázquez on second base, Britton removes his cap and reads the sequence of pitches for when there is a runner on second base. We then see Sanchez pull a card out of his back pocket and peruse it for his part in this diabolical scheme to confuse the Red Sox players.

On Britton’s first pitch, he throws a sinker low and away to pinch hitter José Peraza. Sanchez is on one knee and set up middle in. The result is a wild pitch and Vázquez is now at third in a 4-1 game. Obviously someone got the pitch sequence wrong.

Peraza then reaches on a Britton error allowing Vázquez to score and then moves to second on a passed ball to Sanchez. He then goes out to talk to Britton. Obviously he was crossed up again. Next up for the Sox is ex Mets Kevin Plawecki, batting a respectable .391 in this shortened season and who now represents the tying run. Fortunately for the Yankees, He strikes out swinging as Sanchez blocks the ball in the dirt.

All of that drama was because of the miscommunication between pitcher and catcher. The language of signs between a pitcher and catcher has not changed since Babe Ruth pitched for Boston in 1914. “Second sign after one or first sign after two. Rotate one and two on the third pitch.” I did that in High School and never remember my catcher getting crossed up. What the heck is going on here.

This laps in concentration by either Britton or Sanchez almost cost the Yankees a game. This is not a problem exclusive to the Yankees. We see this throughout baseball at every level. I don’t have an answer for it. Maybe we have so much closeup camera shots at the catcher giving the signs and other multiple views every game, that we just see more.

One thing for sure, it’s something to watch out for when these teams are in the playoffs and World Series. It could be the difference in who goes home with a ring and who goes home a loser.

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