Jorge Posada's hot-headed nature has often been applauded because it usually leads to the catcher defending his Yankee teammates, but on Tuesday night against the Blue Jays, Posada's temper put New York in a dangerous situation.
The trouble began when Joe Girardi inserted Mark Melancon into a 7-2 game in the seventh. The rookie reliever has been wild all season, racking up 10 walks, four hit batters, and three wild pitches in just 16.1 innings, so the Yanks are just a pitch away from a bench-clearing brawl every time he releases the ball.
Sure enough, Melancon hit Aaron Hill squarely in the back with a fastball in the eighth inning, lighting the fuse that would soon set off a great deal of fireworks.
Toronto southpaw Jesse Carlson quickly responded with a pitch behind Posada in the bottom of the frame that earned both teams a warning. The Blue Jays were justified in their retaliation, even though neither of the two hit by pitches delivered by the Yankees appeared to be intentional (starter Sergio Mitre plunked Edwin Encarnacion with a changeup in the sixth).
No team likes to have two of its batters hit, so Toronto was well within its rights to go after a Yankee hitter. It wasn't like Carlson threw at Posada's head; the fastball sailed past the batter's waist.
But in typical Posada fashion, he started yelling at the reliever and wouldn't even let things go after he scored on a Brett Gardner hit.
After crossing home plate, Posada threw an elbow at Carlson, who probably should not have been standing in the runner's path in the first place. But knowing how much is at stake with the Yankees eyeing a 27th World Series title next month, Posada should've let it go and quietly returned to the dugout.
Of course, that's not what happened. Carlson shouted at the Yankee catcher, who responded by attacking the pitcher, setting off the brawl that left Carlson bruised and Girardi battered.
Luckily, it didn't appear that any of New York's most valuable players were injured in the fight, but Derek Jeter was put right in the middle of the fracas because he was standing on deck, so things could have been very costly for the Bombers.
Now, the Yankees will probably be without Posada's .281 average, 21 homers, and 76 RBI for however many games he is suspended, which is not a good thing for a team that is only five games up in the loss column for the division lead and home field advantage.
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Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report's New York Yankees Community Leader. His book "Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man" is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.
Jordan can be reached at email@example.com
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