I don’t know what Buster Posey’s rehabilitation process was like. Not many do outside the organization. Posey doesn’t talk about himself much, but we all saw the injury. His ankle was obliterated, and he was back on the field in less than 10 months. Even in his first Spring Training at-bats he looked like his old self, not exactly spraying the ball to all fields but hardly overmatched by Major League pitching.
It’s hard to fathom how much work it took to get to that point, let alone what he’s doing now. Posey is the best hitter in baseball over the past month-plus. Yes, even better than Mike Trout. Going into Saturday night’s game (where Posey went 3-for-4), his slash line was .396/.491/.725 over the previous 30 days. Those are Bonds numbers, and Posey is San Francisco’s latest reminder as to how lucky they are — when it comes to transcendent offensive players, Giants fans have witnessed as many as those in any other city over the past 50 years.
Posey doesn’t talk about himself, but he isn’t expansive on many topics. That’s why anyone who’s covered more than a few games over the past year (after Melky Cabrera’s suspension was announced, several media members who haven’t been seen at AT&T all year were in the clubhouse that afternoon) knew Posey was more than a little upset with Cabrera by his initial “it was just a bad decision, and that’s all I’m really going to say about it” reaction.
Posey’s year was on a course to eclipse Cabrera’s, even if Cabrera stayed out of trouble. But if the Giants can win their division (the Dodgers and D-Backs both won on Saturday), it’s going to be hard to dismiss Posey’s MVP credentials.
Posey also has some help
Posey’s clearly the leader of this team, but if you don’t mind I’m going to delve into an area that has been deemed exceedingly dangerous by most baseball bloggers: the chemistry zone.
Bruce Bochy felt the need to give the Giants a pep talk a couple weeks ago when they “looked flat.” Without Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro, it wouldn’t have mattered if Bochy gave the team a post-Melky speech or if Posey kept hitting — the Giants would have shriveled up and died in the days following the suspension news.
Scutaro’s a much quieter person than Pence. He just hits the ball, gets on base and plays solid defense wherever you put him. It’s clear from how the team reacts to Pence in the clubhouse and on the field that he’s a popular guy (Sergio Romo and others talked about how Pence had helped off the field before he started hitting), and after watching Pence run around after Clay Hensley notched the last out and helped the Giants escape with a win, it seems like he may have found his perfect situation.
In Houston, Pence was the best player on a terrible team. In Philadelphia, he was almost like a funky role player who started and made star money. Just another guy. But Pence has a pretty big personality. He’ll let a reporter know if he or she asked a stupid question. He’s got impressions (his Ray Lewis is pretty solid). There’s not exactly a leadership void on the Giants with Posey and Matt Cain around, but Pence is proven and he’ll be here for at least another season. Probably much longer than that.
Barry Zito’s Eeeeeee-phus
If you missed the game, you have to see this “pitch” Zito “threw.” We’ll wait.
Sometimes when you go bowling you’ll see a kid who has never bowled before. Inevitably they’ll walk up with the ball and drop it on the floor directly in front of their feet, and everyone has to wait as the ball rolls and rolls down the lane. That was what Posey had to do when Zito’s pitch flew up in the air and landed. As it rolled slowly toward the plate, my favorite part of this play was how he seemed so nonplussed by the whole situation. “Yep, sometimes when Zito pitches you’ll have to stand for five full seconds, waiting for the ball to trickle to the plate.”
Sacrifice flies are fun
Scutaro, Pence and Posey made runners at third with less than two outs count, and that’s (a huge reason) why the Giants won.
Joaquin Arias, lefty killer
I was not expecting a Crawford/Arias shortstop platoon to look awesome in August … but it looks kind of awesome in August.
Pablo Sandoval: giving 90-95%
Every time someone would ask Sandoval how he feels after games this past week, he’d say either 90% or 95%. His hamstring still hurts, and watching him run is almost as painful. But the guy can hit, and he seems determined to run through the pain. And run, and run…
And in the #52 car…
I’m sorry, but … with that hair, Eric Hacker should be in NASCAR.
Situational lefty paranoia
I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop with Jose Mijares. When a player from the Royals seems too good to be true, it’s hard to trust it’ll last. How did nobody else get this guy?
Best moment of the game
Yes, even better than Zito’s blooper — when Romo struck out Carlos Quentin (who took Hacker deep in the 6th) on a slider off the outside corner, Quentin kind of swung the bat toward where the pitch was, but couldn’t hold onto the bat even though he tried to keep it from hitting the ground. It ended up looking like Quentin was tossing the bat at the ground like a golfer quitting on his round after his 13th 3-putt.
Bud Black steps on a duck
I’m not sure how long MLB will leave this video up, but a few seconds into Black’s postgame press conference he farts. Loudly. He was taken by surprise, and uttered a little cough afterward to try to mask the lingering sound, but it didn’t help. Thanks to @sleandres for the find.