The image is one of the more memorable ones from the 2009 season. A.J. Burnett asking himself why he threw that pitch while David Ortiz circled the bases in the background during an August game at Fenway Park.
It was the third time that Burnett got throttled by the Sox at Fenway and the penultimate chapter of a troubled working relationship between Burnett and Jorge Posada.
They'd work together once more, but Jose Molina got five playoff starts as a result of the starting battery's inability to coexist. Molina's gone now, though, and the two men have little choice but to renew acquaintances in the cozy little ballpark that was last summer's equivalent of the Beatles on the roof of their recording studio.
The deciding moment of Sunday night's game will only serve to make for more tension when Burnett runs into trouble on Tuesday.
The opener turned against the Yankees for good when Posada couldn't adjust quickly enough to a Damaso Marte pitch that darted in an unexpected direction. It was a bad moment for Jorge, not as bad as you might think from some of the reactions but bad enough that you wonder how well he'll handle a pitcher with as much late movement as Burnett.
Pitch movement was only part of the problem last year. The other had to do with pitch selection, something that caused Burnett and Posada to meet at the mound several times a game. Unlike Harry and Sally, none of their meetings turned into true romance and the results were even less humorous than subsequent Billy Crystal movies. So their reunion is certainly worthy of an extra layer of attention.
How's it going to work out this time? On the one hand, you have to think that two veterans who have shared a clubhouse for a year will be able to find a way to make things work a little more smoothly this time around.
Posada's had trouble with other pitchers before and may not be the best defensive catcher ever to throw on shin pads, but he wouldn't still be doing this if he didn't get things right more often than not. Burnett, for his part, had a few meltdowns with Molina behind the plate and did nothing to live down his reputation as a man with a billion dollar arm and a head with a significantly lower price point.
Might it be easier to get the act back together in Kansas City? Perhaps, but it isn't an option and they can't just work in front of the fountains. Burnett and Posada will have to sink or swim in the center ring.