Buster Posey's callup is a play for the present and the future

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Henry Schulman asks if the Giants’ surprise callup of Buster Posey is designed to “light a fire” under Bengie Molina.  Call me crazy, but when you’re in a tight race for the final playoff spot, your starting catcher is hurt, and your team’s best prospect, also a catcher, just put up a .900+ OPS across two levels of minor league baseball at the age of 22, maybe the reason to call him up is less about psychological motivation and more about, you know, winning ballgames. Indeed, given Molina’s .281 OBP and the Giants’ desperate need for offense, Posey may be the guy to play even if Molina’s fire is sufficiently lit and he’s able to play more.

But I’ll grant that there’s a more subtle play involved here. It just doesn’t involve Molina’s psyche. It involves his contract, in that he won’t — or at least shouldn’t — be offered one for 2010 if Posey shows that he can handle the job this month.

I have spent a lot of time over the past few years slamming Brian Sabean for doing shortsighted things. With the Posey callup, however, he is wisely looking to the future. What’s more, assuming Posey is anything other than a total loss at the plate at the big league level these next few weeks, this future play won’t do any violence to present interests either.

I don’t believe I’m saying this, but: Well played, Mr. Sabean.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.