In researching yet another aspect of the Dodgers’ ineptitude Eric Stephen of True Blue LA stumbled across an interesting stat about the Giants, noting that San Francisco catchers have hit just .222 with a .647 OPS since Buster Posey’s season-ending ankle injury.
At the time of the injury Posey was hitting .284 with a .756 OPS and he batted .305 with an .862 OPS in winning Rookie of the Year honors last season, so the dropoff behind the plate has been massive.
Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart have split time pretty evenly in Posey’s absence, with Whiteside starting 29 times compared to 20 starts by Stewart.
Over the weekend the Giants promoted a third catcher, Hector Sanchez, but the 21-year-old prospect hasn’t started a game yet and isn’t expected to see much action despite hitting .302 with an .802 OPS in 67 games between Single-A and Double-A. Sanchez has terrible plate discipline and a grand total of 25 career games above Single-A, so odds are he’d be overmatched right now anyway, but if the Giants felt it was worth calling him up why not give him a shot instead of the .222-hitting veteran duo?
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: