The error battle is heating up

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When Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon committed his seventh error on the very first play of the bottom of the first inning Saturday, Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro knew he’d have to step up his game. Sure enough, he committed his major league-high eighth in the fifth inning.

Here’s the up-to-the-minute leaderboard for errors:

Starlin Castro (SS ChC) – 8
Dee Gordon (SS LAD) – 7
Clint Barmes (SS Pit) – 6
Brandon Crawford (SS SFG) – 6
Evan Longoria (3B TB) – 6
Troy Tulowitzki (SS Col) – 6

NL shortstops have generally been far better than their AL counterparts on defense the last several years, but they’ve been a shaky bunch on the whole this season. The Padres’ Jason Bartlett and Marlins’ Jose Reyes are right behind the leaders with five errors already. The Angels’ Erick Aybar is the only AL shortstop with five errors.

Obviously, things are going to turn around here. Castro and Gordon will likely finish among the league leaders in errors, but Tulo and Barmes certainly shouldn’t. Tulowitzki, incredibly, has already matched his 2011 error total in 116 fewer games. He’s never committed more than 11 errors in a season. Barmes committed 12 errors in 122 games for Houston last year.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.