San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)
Posey showing there’s lots of life in his bat
Nobody is quite like San Diego starter Yu Darvish, whose assortment of pitches is ample and diverse. The angles, velocities and breaks set him apart from all other pitchers in the majors.
“I don’t think in my career,” Buster Posey said, “I’ve ever really caught anyone like Darvish, who relies on the offspeed and kind of punches with the fastball here and there.”
That says a lot considering Posey’s long and storied career. He might not have experience catching Darvish, but hitting him is a different story.
Darvish dominated the Giants on Friday night in their 32 loss to the Padres, striking out 12 in 61⁄3 innings and giving up one run.
That came in the first inning when Posey turned on Darvish’s lowandaway cutter and smashed it over the rightfield wall, the latest example that the 34yearold sixtime AllStar is healthy and not detoured by his surgically repaired hip.
Posey, who opted out last season, had little power in 2018 and ’19 and hit 12 home runs in 803 atbats, a 1in67 homertoatbat ratio. In ’18, he was bothered by his bum hip. In ’19, he was recovering from the surgery.
Far removed from the operation, Posey is a different man in 2021. Friday’s homer was his sixth in just 17 games, and made his HRtoAB ratio a stunning 1:10.2.
“It’s a combination of a lot of different things,” Posey said. “Some of my preparation before the game is working with the hitting (coaches). Being a little further away from the hip surgery. It’s a combination of all those things coming together. Just trying to get out there and put good swings on the ball each night.”
Despite the loss, the Giants finished April with the best record in the National League West, ahead of the Dodgers and Padres, both of whom were projected to run away from the pack. That might still happen, but the Giants have bragging rights for at least one month.
“I think the first thing that comes to mind is we played a lot of tight games and won a lot of tight games,” said Posey, whose club entered Saturday having played 10 onerun games and nine more that were decided by two or three runs.
“That’s a good sign, a good recipe. Winning teams I played on in the past had a knack for winning those close games, and hopefully that’s something we continue to do.”
Much of the team’s early success can be attributed to Posey, who entered Saturday hitting .361 with a .418 onbase percentage and .705 slugging percentage. He was 9 for his past 14.
Posey’s six homers in April were his most in a month since May 2017. He began Saturday leading the Giants in hits and homers and is the common denominator for a pitching staff that ranks with the Padres as the teams with the majors’ lowest ERAs.
Despite the hot start, manager Gabe Kapler said he won’t push Posey into more playing time.
“While it’s very tempting to get him into the lineup as potentially a first baseman on a day game after a night game,” Kapler said, “it’s more important to ensure that he gets adequate recovery because this performance is ideal.”