Giants catchers have hit .222 since Buster Posey went down

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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?

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.