The Miami Marlins had a game on Thursday and there was a play at the plate. No worries — nobody got blown up, nobody is injured, but the Marlins ended up surrendering a run because their catcher was ruled to not have given the runner from third a lane to the plate. Rule 7.13 says the runner must have a lane, but if the ball carries the catcher into the lane then there’s no obstruction. Was the catcher obstructing? Here’s the video for you to be the judge:
Manager Mike Redmond talked after the game about his thoughts on the call, and like he was on the field, he was not happy.
Of course, anytime this rule comes into effect, the names Scott Cousins and Buster Posey come up, much as the Giants and Giants fans would prefer to not recall that incident when Cousins went out of his way to collide with the Giants catcher, the result of which took him out for the season. This is not lost on anybody, and Miami Herald beat writer Clark Spencer took it upon himself to let the Giants fanbase know how he felt:
Basically, the #Marlins got hosed on a confusing rule which had as its genesis the Cousins/Posey collision and the cry-babying that ensued.
— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) August 1, 2014
Cool, cool. I bet owners and general managers are really upset that the league set out to protect their catchers, what an awful, awful thing. Is the rule perfect? Definitely not, and it’s shown its growing pains in the 2014 season. The garbage that was being talked against Bruce Bochy and company was not taken lightly by Giants broadcaster Dave Flemming:
Clark Spencer has been retweeting emotional Giants fans onto his timeline to show how much he’s enjoying being supported in the “crybaby” narrative, but never acknowledged Flemming with a retweet. Of course, it is very much possible they interacted privately. We all know what the old school people think of collisions, but here’s a view from Grant Brisbee:
People in favor of home-plate collisions are like truthers, birthers, and anti-gay-marriage twits. Can ignore all subsequent words.
— Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron) August 1, 2014
Strong responses from the leaders of the Giants camp. Glad Giants fans have interactive personnel like them to stand up to others when they start throwing their fighting words. In a country where concussions are being taken so seriously in a very popular sport, this rule had to have been something that happened in a matter of time. The old school is mad it happened the way it did and the rule isn’t doing well, and that’s too bad for the old school folk that want things The Way They Were, because it doesn’t look like the rule is going anywhere.
The Giants won their game on Sunday over the Diamondbacks 8-4, finishing the “first half” at 52-43, one game back and two wins less than the Dodgers. Sunday was not without it’s “wow” moments, as you always hope to see something you’ve never seen before in a baseball game you’re watching, be it a defensive play, a perfect game, perhaps, or a day at the plate to remember forever. For Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, they didn’t make history individually, but through both of their grand slams off of Diamondback fastballs, they combined for history.
Per @EliasSports, this is the first time in MLB history a pitcher and his catcher hit a grand slam in the same game.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 13, 2014
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 14, 2014
The video with the call by Dave Flemming for your viewing pleasure can be seen here. Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner both have two career grand slams, as Flemming notes in the video. Once I see the video is embeddable I will take the link off and embed it here.
There is technically currently a three-way tie for the first and second wild card spots in the National League between the Nationals, Braves, and Giants. The Nationals and Braves are tied for first in the NL East.
As news just popped up that Miguel Olivo bit off a chunk of Alex Guerrero‘s ear, Giants fans are concerning themselves more with the back of Buster Posey and the left shoulder of Angel Pagan. Both of these players will be out tonight in Denver as the Giants begin their three-game road trip against the second-place Colorado Rockies. Here are the lineups you have been seeking:
Tonight’s #SFGiants lineup at COL: Blanco cf Pence rf Sandoval 3b Morse 1b Sanchez c Hicks 2b Crawford ss Colvin lf Bumgarner p
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 20, 2014
This will be Michael Cuddyer‘s first game back for the Rockies since April 17th. He’s only 35 but I feel like he’s so much older.
As for news specific to the pre-game situation, the beat writers Alex Pavlovic and John Shea have you covered. On Posey’s back:
Posey hurt back on funky swing Sunday, said if started to really irritate him yesterday. Said: “I don’t think it’s anything super serious.”
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) May 20, 2014
Posey said he thinks he can pinch-hit tonight if needed.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) May 20, 2014
Bochy said Posey is available to catch tonight in emergency. If he couldn’t, Giants would have called up a third catcher.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) May 20, 2014
Bochy said Posey is “day to day.” Pagan is also day to day with shoulder sprain. Giants have REALLY short bench this series. — Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) May 20, 2014
It’s true. Their bench is an injured Buster Posey, an injured Angel Pagan, Ehire Adrianza, and Joaquin Arias. The benefits of a thirteen-man pitching staff are rearing their ugly faces yet again! As for Tim Hudson, seems that the news out of Giants HQ are positive:
Arbitrary endpoints: Rockies starter Franklin Morales has seen at least four earned runs attached to his record each of his last four starts, including four home runs. Madison Bumgarner‘s only consistency is his inconsistency, being the ace in a few starts, and then missing the mark in the majority of his starts. He definitely hasn’t been the ace Giants fans envisioned when the season began. My cat is being incredibly distracting, and I have run out of time, so this is what you’re getting for the pre-game. It isn’t purrfect, but it’ll get you by.
First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 PM PST.
ESPN Insider Dan Szymborski posted an article Sunday morning about the ten most indispensable players in Major League Baseball. He used the projections from the 2014 ZiPS, their playoff odds when the player was odd and whatever back-up that team would likely use in the case the player would be absent due to whatever awful scenario. Giants fans remember life without Buster Posey in 2011 and remember how it went with Eli Whiteside hopping and Chris Stewart first-pumping. Life just wasn’t that great. Szymborski’s list would probably put Posey higher up on the list three years ago since the supporting cast wasn’t as strong, but in 2014, Posey is still pretty high up the list: third. Here’s what the Szymborski noted on Posey:
With a healthy Posey, the Giants won the World Series in 2010 and 2012. With an injured Posey in 2011, they missed the playoffs. While that’s oversimplifying matters, the drop-off from Posey to Hector Sanchez is massive. With the pitching not what it was a few years ago and the Dodgers’ being the favorite, losing Posey drops the Giants clearly below the most likely wild-card candidates (Braves, Pirates, Reds, Diamondbacks).
Not sure Giants fans would disagree with that. Here’s the list, and you can read the full article here if you have insider access:
1. Justin Verlander (chances of making the Postseason down 24.8%)
2. Clayton Kershaw (-21.2%)
3. Buster Posey (-20.6%)
4. Yu Darvish (-19.7%)
5. Miguel Cabrera (-19.6%)
6. Max Scherzer (-19.6%)
7. Joey Votto (-18.9%)
8. Mike Trout (-17.5%)
9. Anibal Sanchez (-17.2%)
10. Yadier Molina (-17.1%)
That’s four Detroit Tigers in the top ten! That can mean a number of things, the ones I’ll choose would be: they have some pretty good players, and ZiPS does not look highly on the back-up options for those guys. I thought Trout would be higher, but he may be that low because the Angels’ postseason odds aren’t that great to begin with. Interesting that half this list are also players that only make their rounds every fifth day.
The Giants and Dodgers play the last game of their series tonight at 5:00 PM PST on ESPN2.
Buster Posey wasn’t 100% for some of the season and Brandon Belt was finally getting settled, even was close to getting a nice, shiny 20-HR season. Still, Belt had a satisfying 2013. Is it what you want out of him every year of his prime? Mmmm…. maybe not just because you expect him to get better. You do want your first baseman to be providing more power than your catcher does, so a player-versus-player post with a 1B and C is probably unfair to Posey, but let’s also keep in mind that Giants fans consider Posey the Golden Boy that can do no wrong. So to have Brandon Belt do anything better than Buster Posey is both great and maybe a preview for later years that suggest perhaps if Posey can have a great year, Belt gets better, the bottom three pictured below are going to be pretty dangerous, no matter whom they face:
BWARP is Baseball Prospectus‘ version of WAR, so if you had questions on that, there you go. There were probably a bunch of bloggers that wrote about Brandon Belt’s quantifiable betterness, so this blog may be a little bit of review for you as we go through January. First, the numbers Buster Posey bested Belt in:
- Plate Appearances, 595-571 (lineup order a big part of that)
- RBI, 72-67 (lineup order a big part of that)
- BB%, 10.1%-9.1%
- K% 11.8%-21.9%
- AVG .298-.289
- OBP .371-.360
- fWAR 4.8-4.0
- rWAR, 5.2-4.4
A lot of pretty important categories, including those WAR and OBP ones people always talk about.
Now, the ones Belt was better than Posey:
- Games Played, 150-148
- HR, 17-15
- SB, 5-2 (vroom vroom!)
- Isolated Power, .193-.156
- SLG, .481
- OPS+, 142-138
- wOBA, .365-.357
- wRC+, 139-133
So, the advanced metrics may have said Posey > Belt overall in 2013, which is cool because Buster Posey is awesome. Brandon Belt isn’t too far away from being on his level to the decimal point, and if you’re one of those people that want to talk about how difficult it is to measure catcher defense and how that gets calculated into WAR, you might suggest Belt is already at Posey’s level. 2014 should be fun if Belt gets better, even if he isn’t Paul Goldschmidt, Buster Posey is healthy, and everybody else is skinny and healthy, as well.
CBS Sports writer Jon Heyman is churning out articles this morning, looking to leave no team behind as these GM and owner meetings get started.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 11, 2013
The article specifically names Jacoby Ellsbury and Denard Span as possibilities, the first being a qualifying offer free agent, and the latter being a trade candidate from the Nationals. There are more than a few people that played center field in 2013 that would be a better option than Angel Pagan, and both Ellsbury and Span would fit the bill. A trade for Span would be much less shocking than the Giants ponying up the money for Ellsbury, in my opinion, since they’re not too far away from meeting their self-induced cap. Jon does say that a move of Pagan to a corner spot (left field) would be more likely than a Buster Posey move to 1B, which will sadden all Brandon Belt haters that are still out there.
Heyman also talks about the Giants need for starting pitching, which was evident since about June of this past season. Besides Rotoworld spitting out rumors that the Giants and Bronson Arroyo weren’t too far away, there are no new updates on that front.
Yesterday the counts for the American League were released, and so today the home National League’s vote count is out to the people where you can view here. Some facts and reactions:
NL @allstargame voting leaders:1B: Votto2B: Phillips3B: SandovalSS: TulowitzkiC: PoseyOF: J. Upton OF: Harper OF: Braun
— MLB (@MLB) June 4, 2013
Surprises for me are Pablo Sandoval at third, Bryce Harper gets the celebrity vote, as you could argue Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez, and Shin-Soo Choo are among those more deserving with the stats, but I’ll let that slide.
Posey leads all NL with 1,275,956 votes, J. Upton is second w/ 1,184,249. Upton leads all OFs. Would be 1st fan selection for 2-time AllStar — David O’Brien (@ajcbraves) June 4, 2013
Buster Posey is the story of the day with the amount of votes he’s getting, but he’s not blowing away the competition.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) June 4, 2013
Brandon Crawford is about 350,000 votes behind Troy Tulowitzki, Brandon Belt is about 500,000 behind Joey Votto, and Marco Scutaro is 200,000 behind Brandon Phillips. I really feel like Matt Carpenter needs to be getting more of a look, as he’s quietly put up a pretty valuable year.
Giants fans vote a lot. Belt 2nd, Scutaro 2nd, Sandoval 1st, Crawford 2nd, Posey 1st; Pence 6th, Pagan 8th, Blanco 11th in OF
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) June 4, 2013
The challenge for other clubs is can they get their fanbase to vote their one guy (for the Brewers two guys) in to out do what the Giants fans are doing for all their outfielders.
This will be a real test for Giant fans — to see how many unworthy players they can vote into the starting lineup
— Ray Ratto (@RattoCSN) June 4, 2013
Right now, I’d say Posey is the only ASG starter I could argue that the Giants have. Yadier Molina winning that over Buster would not be a problem by me, he’s really good as well. We saw what Giants fans did last year, voting in Melky Cabrera in addition to Panda and Posey, and Matt Cain took the bump for the NL. There were many unhappy within the NL, although the NL would end up winning, with the Giants players providing plenty of production, in a shutout victory over the American League, giving the Giants of all teams home field advantage in the 2012 World Series.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, on Tuesday, July 16.