Buster Posey

Fixing The Giants Hitting With RISP

By Bryan Rose
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Bench Molina for Buster Posey. It seems so reasonable, does it not? And such a simple idea – too easy, right? Yes, we all know about the reservations the Giants brass has when it comes to Posey’s pitch calling. And I can see why they’re a bit hesitant considering the strength of this team is the starting pitching.

We saw Eli Whiteside provide some exceptional defensive catching skills this past weekend in Toronto (and really, for the past two seasons), blocking potential wild pitch after wild pitch – it was really an impressive display. And let’s be honest, Eli Whiteside isn’t in the major leagues because of his stick – the guy is a very solid defensive catcher. And while Bengie once was, it’s obvious his reaction time isn’t what it used to be nor is his speed. I’m not saying Bengie is a poor defender – I’m saying he’s just average, on a good day. And there isn’t anything wrong with that if you’re hitting .295 with 15 HR’s and 49 RBI…but he’s not. Eli is a better defensive catcher than Bengie – Posey is a better offensive one. So, why does Molina continue to get the nod over both? I just don’t understand it. It would be one thing if Molina was returning to the Giants next year, but, he’s not. He’s admitted it. After all, he’d rather retire than be a backup…right?

But onto the general point – benching Molina for Buster Posey. And I’m not saying to do this simply because I think Buster is better than Molina – I’m saying this to improve the Giants, overall.

CSNBayArea’s Mychael Urban brought up the point of starting Posey at catcher and benching Molina and it’s hard to argue the point. For those that watched the game last night, it was painfully obvious that Molina has no place hitting 8th because of his lack of speed. Tim Lincecum attempted to bunt him over (which turned into a circus play, in itself…) and even a perfect bunt most likely doesn’t sacrifice Molina to second. It’s just station to station with Molina on base (which hasn’t been much anyway) and the hole it puts the Giants in is just too large to crawl out of most times. With the lack of power on this squad, trying to put together four hits in a row is just asking way too much.

Listen, I’m not trying to pick on Bengie, although it sounds like it. It’s just that Bengie is 35 years old – an aged 35 with all those years spent behind the dish. We’re getting to the halfway point of the season and his bat has yet to pick up, his defense is average at best, and we’ve got our future catcher playing first base to accommodate him.

In addition, we’re forced to bench one of our starting infielders because of this. By benching Molina, Posey can slide to catcher, Sandoval to 1st, Uribe to 3rd, and Renteria to SS. Yes, I understand there is a risk of some defensive missteps with Uribe at 3rd and Sandoval at 1st, but I’m willing to take that risk to improve the offense.

The Giants rank 4th in the NL for team batting average (were third just days ago). They also rank second to last in the league when it comes to hitting with runners in scoring position and with runners in scoring position with two outs. That’s quite a horrific gap. Edgar Renteria, the guy who is most effected by the infield logjam has a .385 batting average with runners in scoring position and a mind blowing .441 with runners on base in just a few less at-bats than Freddy Sanchez.

So I ask, is Bengie Molina worth all of this? I sure can’t see why he is.

At worst, at least try it out for a week or so. Bochy’s been more than willing to test the waters this year with random lineups – give this one a go for a time period and see what comes of it. I can’t help but think we’d see a serious offensive improvement.

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