Tag Archives: Buster Posey

Emil Guillermo: SF Giants may miss Panda more than they think, but maybe they can build an identity around Nori Aoki?

For non-fans of the SF Giants, “C. Heston” is Chris, not Charlton.

But the way the team is running these days, they can use a guy who can walk on water.

Still, they’d settle for someone who could hit with men on base.

In the home opener, the Giants left 12 men on base and went 0-7 with runners in scoring position.

That’s a lot of offensive tease and fail. It’s a pattern Giants observers have seen before.

The Giants lost to the Rockies just 2-0, making the home team’s opening day highlight Heston’s good pitching which kept the game close. (I mean we’re not counting Madbum on the horse as a game highlight, are we?)

On these kind of pop-less bat  days, Giants fans may have to grow to love Nori Aoki.


That’s Aoki doing his impression of Buster Posey.

From the first at bat at the leadoff position, Aoki was  offensive spark on Monday.

The new Giants left-fielder has a 16-game hitting streak dating back to last season with World Series opponent, the Kansas City  Royals, who incidentally  have started the new season undefeated.

Aoki, a skilled contact hitter, finished the opener with two hits and is now hitting .412. .

Shouldn’t take long for fans, especially with the Giants large Asian American fan base, to warm up to Aoki.

But maybe the Giants will end up missing Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval more than they think.

Sandoval  made his mark in October and with his  big personality, it all contributed to the Giants identity as a champion.

Now that he’s gone, the team is really all about Posey and the pitchers.

And almost all of them  are “lead by example” guys.

Sandoval led by his gut, literally and figuratively. Even when he was in a down cycle production wise, he was still entertaining to watch.

Maybe Pence will come back after his injury and spark the team.

But I sure felt the loss of Sandoval in the home park when I was there on Monday.

It’s just strange not seeing any panda hats in the stands for the first time in years.

Remember those days?


This was from the2014 post-season.

I guess we can’t expect them  to be playing like that in April.

That’s why they play 162.

UPDATE: Again on Tuesday night, Giants abysmal with runners in scoring position.  Hudson, like Heston on opening day, pitched well enough to keep the game close. If he had any run support, it would have been good enough. But it’s  tough when you have three-run pitching and a no-run offense.

Giants score to make it 3-1 in 8th,  as Matt Duffy  gets an RBI on a sacrifice fly to right. It comes  only after a runner moved up on a foul-out.  Sound familiar? That’s the Giants post-season offense last year—the productive out strategy. But then Posey’s 8th inning blast to center turns into a long non-productive out.  And the inning and the threat ends.

Two runs in the 9th to extend, three to win? It’s not October.

UPDATE: Game ends, 4-1, Rockies. The last two out by the two early season heroes. Justin Maxwell strikes out looking. And Aoki strikes out swinging.  Five losses in a row. The champs rely on the Freak to play stopper on Wednesday.


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Linceblog: Metallica sets tone, but Giants acoustic until Posey rocks the yard; Another game that defines the Giant-Dodger rivalry;UPDATE: Game 2 of series–a Guillermo walk-off homer


It wasn’t just the Dodgers and Giants at AT&T Park on Friday. It was the Dodgers and Giants and Metallica, one of the world’s most famous rock and roll bands ever.


Heavy Metal Baseballers:Metallica

Metallica? Just the net worth of lead singer James Hetfield is estimated at $175 million, a not so quiet fortune. He and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett both hail from the Bay Area. And Hammett is a Filipino American to boot–from the city’s Mission district.

 “18th and South Van Ness,” he said to me. “I played Little League for St. Charles.”

St. Charles?  Oh ,yeah. I’m a few years older than Hammett. But I was a Dolores Park guy back then, and I remember those guys with the gray khakis and the red sweaters and our teams  (me and Marcelino Dumpit) used to whip up on all the St. Charles teams we played.

Except, clearly we would have been trounced if they had a CYO heavy metal team and we had to jam with  the likes of Hammett.

I mean how could I compete with  my effing clarinet.


Hammett, big league axe in hand, did a version of the Star Spangled Banner that had shades of Jimi .

It should have set the tone for one heck-of-a-rocking-game. Even the scoreboard had the Giants’ pictures in Metallica drag.



Metal drag: They don’t call him Buster for nothing



And it did set a tone,  but the  game was more like an acoustic fantasy for the Giants.

So did the park rock? Nope. The Giants bats were unplugged.

The Dodger’s Clayton Kershaw had the Giants stymied with a perfect game through the first third of the game, and a no-hitter until the Giants’ Marco Scutaro tripled in the 6th.

Kershaw would go from 74 mph to 94 mph and back in one sequence to show how it kept batters off balance all night.

The Giants Barry Zito was almost as good, but with more key defensive help. In the 3rd and 4th innings, Dodger rallies died because of timely variations of the Arias/Scutaro/Belt double play.

But it looked like Kershaw would beat them again with his arm and his bat when he doubled to lead off the 5th.  A sac bunt moved him to third where he should have stayed, but a ground ball to Arias was too deep to start a double play.  But that allowed Kershaw to score the only run he might need–he was going that well.

A better ground ball came from the next batter, the dangerous Kemp, and this time, the Giants turned a DP to end the inning and limit the damage to just one run.

One run down? That’s just the beginning of the game for the 2013 Giants, who came into the game tied with the Pirates for most comebacks in the National League (9).

In their half of the 6th, the Giants woke up with the Scutaro triple, and scored on a Buster Posey double. 

With the game tied, Hunter Pence singled to center. Posey, running on contact with two out, rounded third and was waved on home to get the go-ahead run.

For Posey, it was nearly a reverse déjà vu moment that produced that heartbreaking moment Giants fans never forget from 2011.  

Only this time Posey was the runner, not the catcher. Would Posey score? Would he barrel into Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis for the dramatic and courageous go-ahead?

Kemp’s throw to the plate was perfect and beat Posey without question. He slid sensibly into the tag and saved the big splash for later. He was instinctively saving the passion and the drama for later.

Posey had another scenario in mind.

In the bottom of the ninth, game tied, facing the Dodger’ reliever Ronald Belisario, and a 3-2 count,  Posey knew exactly where to put the exclamation point in this game.

You need a shot in the arm? There’s nothing like a walk-off home-run against your dreaded rivals.  

Metallica? On the very last play of the game, AT&T was finally plugged-in and rocking, another game that adds to the legend of the Giant-Dodger rivalry.


Another win for the Giants (five straight), all comebacks, and the second in-a-row with a walk-off home run.

This time the hero is Guillermo Quiroz, the third-string catcher and minor league careerist,  who lives for moments like the bottom of the 10th.  As a pinch-hitter, Quiroz was the last position player available to Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy.

No one expected what would happen next.

Quiroz hit a beleagurered Dodger reliever’s pitch into the left field bleachers,  just as Buster Posey did the night before, to give the Giants a 10-9 win.

It was another classic Giant/Dodger game, a highly offensive affair that featured 19 runs and 30 hits between the two teams.

The walk-off home run for the Giants was the 12th in the LA/SF series since the two teams moved west in 1958.






Linceblog: It’s Lincecum night–but not Posey night at AT&T

Bruce Bochy insists that it’s no big deal, that Buster Posey wasn’t going to catch both Tuesday night and Wednesday’s day game against the Rockies, so he chose to let him rest tonight and play tomorrow.

Oh, by the way, Tim Lincecum is pitching tonight.

Coincidence? A Posey aversion to Lincecum? A full-fledge conspiracy going into Game 8 of the long season?

Bochy was cagey in his dugout interview tonight and pretty much said what he’s been saying all along about the “Timmy/Buster” catching situation.

In the political realm, you would say he’s pumping up  his cover-story– a scenario that satisfies the need for an answer.

What is puzzling is if Hector Sanchez becomes Lincecum’s “personal catcher,” say like the Green Hornet’s Kato, does that help the Giants more than Lincecum?

Sanchez was not exactly doing Lincecum any favors behind the plate in the Dodger game. Lincecum is hard to catch, true, but Sanchez wasn’t making him look better.

So it’s Sanchez’ bat the Giants want in there? Well, what about Posey’s bat? Don’t you want your first string catcher in there?

As Bochy puts it, it’s just coincidence.

“Most of this will be how it falls,” said Boch. “It’s not a bad thing when a back up catcher ends up with the same pitcher.”

OK, and then when it’s not coincidence, then what is it?

Conspiracy theorists start your engines.

Incidentally, it’s the 71st Anniversay of the fall of Bataan, offically known as the “Day of Valor.” It’s a national holiday in the Philippines, but also an important part of America’s WWII history.

Lincecum won’t be facing the odds of those Filipino scouts in Bataan, but he will be going to battle tonight without the National League MVP behind the plate.

Linceblog: Giants celebration weekend like baseball’s version of Wagner’s Ring Cycle; Posey’s MVP day, a little on the game, and if Posey catches Lincecum

Saturday was about connecting greatness.


Giants Greatness: Past and Present


We didn’t exactly have that for the game though.

With the Giants, winning is always about timing. And playing  perfect baseball, for now. Later, when they’re sharp, they can be more human. But this early in the season, when you’re not so sharp, you’ve got to get a little luckier.

On Saturday’s game, the hits came at the wrong time, the defense failed when it needed to be perfect, and the starting pitching–which had been perfect with no earned runs through four games and 26 innings—finally showed its human side.

Ryan Vogelsong talked about not throwing enough good pitches at the right time after the 6-3 loss to the Cardinals. 

It’s tough. With a few breaks in that rough first inning that featured a passed ball and a wild pitch, a timely strike on a 3-2 count to former Giant Carlos Beltran would have gotten Vogelsong out of a jam unscathed.

The Giants got back the run with a Pence home run, and Vogelsong settled down. But  in the fifth, a hit, a walk, a dropped ball at first, and again Beltran stepped in to hurt the Giants with a two-run single.  

Early in a 162-game season, it’s a good thing they play another  150 or so. 

You can’t have another celebration.

Oh, wait.

You can.

And today it’s the rings. Not Wagner’s Ring, but three days of celebrations do make the Giants opening week comparable to a Wagnerian Cycle.  (Baseball has a cycle too, but I don’t think it includes a few bars from “Ride of the Valkyries.”)

More on the rings in a later post.

The Giants are great nostalgists.

And when another layer of achievement is recorded, they gladly bring in the past to welcome the new glory.

It makes the Giants one of the more humanistic baseball organizations in MLB. Sure, in baseball, the numbers tend to dehumanize things, from stats to salary figures. But in the end, it’s the human connections that make the difference.

The Giants are good at connecting greatness.


So for me, seeing MVPs like Kevin Mitchell (he of the one-hand-bare-handed grab see it on YouTube), and Jeff Kent (late of “Survivor”), next to the legends, McCovey and Mays…that was a sight. (Incidentally, no, Bonds sighting, and he won three of those MVPs).

Posey stayed off the field until the appropriate time.


Posey hears the cheers as he emerges for the celebration



A baseball star’s relationship to fans isn’t bonded in words. When the player takes great actions, the cheers are what it’s about.  And as Buster emerged from the dugout, they showed the love.


Posey with the 2012 MVP award



Posey held his award, and then as Mays and others looked on, he gave an appropriately short, gracious speech, thanking his family.

And his teammates.

There in the dugout were three that have been the other end of his battery. In between Cain and Zito, there was Lincecum looking on.


Posey was great last year, but with a grueling season the talk has been if he’ll get enough rest to do it again this year.  And that always leads to speculation about whether Posey will catch Lincecum, or take that day off. This coming week, Lincecum is scheduled to start Tuesday night, and then comeback for a Wednesday.  Bochy told CSN BayArea’s Andrew Baggerly that Posey will likely rest Tuesday.

So will the schedule dictate Posey rest when Lincecum pitches?  

Maybe, but from this observers eye, it seems to be a coincidence—at this point.

I do think Posey has to be out there catching, especially Lincecum.  If I were Tim, I’d want the best. And Posey is right now.