In the eyes of the Giants and their fans, the Marlins can’t get on a plane to vacate San Francisco fast enough.
Before Florida came to town on Tuesday, the Giants were riding a five-game winning streak. Sure, luck was a big reason they swept the A’s last weekend but their pitching was also dominant and they had enough clutch hitting to take all three games. It was the same recipe that allowed them to bring the first World Series championship to San Francisco last year.
But two losses and one massive injury insult later and the Giants are wishing the Marlins were left off their schedule this year. After Florida dumped them 5-1 on Tuesday, the Giants rallied from five runs down in the bottom of the ninth on Wednesday to tie the game 6-6 and force extra innings. Too bad they didn’t just take the 6-1 loss in the ninth.
In the 12th, Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins was tagging from third base and, knowing that there would be a close play at the plate with Nate Schierholtz throwing from right field, slammed into Giants catcher Buster Posey. The 2010 Rookie of the Year couldn’t hang onto the ball and worse yet, his left ankle/foot got caught underneath his body in gruesome fashion. As he lie on the dirt withering in pain, it was all the Giants and their faithful could do but to wince right along with him.
Posey will undergo an MRI on Thursday in order to determine the severity of the injury, but a trip to the disabled list seems inevitable. If he’s out for an extended period of time, you can’t help but to feel for the young man who carries himself well beyond his 24 years of age. Without their young catcher, there would have been no championship in San Francisco last year and that’s a fact. That’s how much he has meant to the club since being called up in June last year.
But now is the time for the defending champs to spring into action. Until the ninth inning on Wednesday night, the Giants’ bats have been in a deep slumber. Losing Pablo Sandoval to wrist surgery at the end of April was bad enough, but now with Posey out their already feeble offense just got worse. Eli Whiteside is a suitable backup catcher, but he’s not an everyday player and the Giants don’t have many options in minors.
So maybe GM Brian Sabean will get a familiar voice on the line in the upcoming days.
It’s not like San Francisco fans were sadden by the news of Bengie Molina being traded to the Rangers last year and Posey being called up. But Molina was a good Giant and he obviously knows this staff. Granted, he may have burned some bridges with Sabean last year with his outspokenness towards the way he was treated before he was traded. (He had to find out he was dealt to Texas via his teammates and the internet.) But assuming Posey is out for an extended period of time, the Giants need a catcher and Molina wants to play.
The Red Sox contacted Molina last week wanting to gauge his interest in coming to Boston. They never signed him because they apparently wanted him to spend a few weeks in the minors to shake off the rust, but Molina wanted to play in the big leagues right away. Even though the Giants have no idea what kind of shape he’s in (uh, baseball shape, that is), they don’t have the luxury of starting him in the minors so it’s seemingly a good fit.
The wildcard in this situation is Pablo Sandoval, who started his career as a catcher before moving to corner infield. He’ll be out for at least another two weeks as he rehabs from wrist surgery, but the Giants could try to get by with Whiteside and a minor league fill-in until then, and then give the Panda a try. The problem with starting Sandoval at catcher is that it would mean more of Miguel Tejada at third base, which is an even uglier sight than Posey withering on the ground in pain.
Either way, unless Posey’s injury is far less worse than anticipated, the Giants have a serious issue on their hands. After going largely injury-free last year, it appears as though the law of averages is catching up to the defending champs. And what a bitch that law of averages is right now.
Update: Amy Gutierrez of CSNBayArea.com is reporting that Posey was diagnosed with a broken leg and torn ligaments. While the team hasn’t confirmed anything yet, Posey is likely out for the year. It’s a massive blow to the Giants’ season and you feel for a bright young star like Posey.