In the wake of Posey’s injury, will the Giants bring back a familiar face in Molina?

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey reacts after the Philadelphia Phillies scored their third run in the third inning during Game 5 of their Major League Baseball NLCS playoff series in San Francisco, October 21, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

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.

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Trailer for Showtime’s “The Franchise” featuring the San Francisco Giants

As a Giants fan, I just went from six to midnight watching the trailer for the new “Hard Knocks”-like documentary “The Franchise,” which will be featured on Showtime this summer.

I’m biased, but could Showtime have picked a better team to follow for its first season? Brian Wilson’s popularity has grown overnight, but there are some other great personalities on that team, including Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell and Sergio Romo (the reliever who found himself locked in Wilson’s unmarked police car in the clip). Then you’ve got Andres Torres chucking around a freaking cinder block in the middle of the field – are you kidding me? I’m in.

Given how popular “Hard Knocks” has become, the “The Franchise” should have no problem taking off as well.

NL & AL team awards at halfway point

Tom Verducci of SI.com put together his individual and team awards now that baseball is at its halfway point. Below are some of his team awards.

AL Biggest Surprise: Texas Rangers.
The team with four straight losing seasons has never been more than 3 1/2 games out of first place all season. Kevin Millwood has been a true workhorse and ace for a pitching staff that has held up very well under coach Mike Maddux.

NL Biggest Surprise: San Francisco Giants.
They might not even hit 100 home runs and they might be the least patient hitting team in the league, but the Giants are a legitimate wild card threat because their pitching is spectacular.

AL Biggest Bust: Cleveland Indians.
Yes, injuries have helped take this team out of contention, but the Indians shouldn’t be this bad. The bullpen has been frightening.

NL Biggest Bust: Arizona Diamondbacks.
Suddenly, they are a stagnant organization, and the A.J. Hinch hiring as a completely inexperienced manager has looked about as risky as it sounded at the time.

AL Best Plan A: Detroit Tigers.
They fast-tracked Porcello, traded for Edwin Jackson, moved Brandon Inge to third, acquired Gerald Laird and Adam Everett and paid Gary Sheffield to go away, a symbolic move that the organization knew the team had grown too old and unathletic. The emphasis on pitching and defense has been spot on.

NL Best Plan A: Los Angeles Dodgers.
They cut their payroll by $18 million and wound up with the best record in baseball. The Orlando Hudson signing was a gem, not to mention those of Casey Blake, Mark Loretta, Brad Ausmus and Randy Wolf, gamers all.

AL Worst Plan A: Oakland Athletics.
Oakland does a nice job of collecting assets on the cheap, but the plan doesn’t seem to come together. Old horses Jason Giambi, Orlando Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra have 729 plate appearances and OPS+ marks of 92, 69 and 83. Matt Holliday isn’t as valuable now as when Oakland acquired him. And the Athletics continue to have major problems keeping players healthy. Oakland does have a bunch of good arms that could pay off big soon, and there’s still time to invoke a good Plan B before the trade deadline.

NL Worst Plan A: Washington Nationals.
Why is Adam Dunn here? The Nats have too many outfielders who are poor defenders, too many starting pitchers who can’t go deep enough into games, too many relief pitchers who can’t get enough hitters out and too many dumb mistakes.

I’m happy to boast that the team’s Verducci picked as his biggest surprises (Rangers and Giants), were two of the five teams I chose as my “deep sleepers” in the offseason. (Hey, this back isn’t going to pat itself, you know?)

Of course, I was the one who also ranked the Diamondbacks as the seventh best team and the Indians the ninth best team in the league for TSR’s 2009 MLB Preview. (Hey, this body isn’t going to throw itself under the bus, you know?)

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