CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – The San Francisco Giants are the worst offense in baseball. In terms of wRC+, wOBA and slugging, they are dead last.
The worst team in baseball has one hitter with a WAR of 3.0 or above, being All-Star catcher Buster Posey, who also ranks top-10 in batting average (6th, .327) and on-base percentage (8th, .407). He is also top-20 in wRC+, sitting 18th at 143. Having a player that good to boost the stats of a team that bad speaks to just how poor they have been.
That same player is the one who beat the Indians both Tuesday and Wednesday, though errors put the catcher in a position to impact each game.
When Mike Clevinger allowed a game-tying single to Posey in the 6th inning on Tuesday, the young righty said he was not trying it pitch around the former MVP. While that may have been the case, Clevinger did not throw a terribly hittable slider by any means on the full count, but Posey hit it anyway.
But to such an anemic offense, when Posey pinch hit in the 8th inning on Wednesday, why pitch to the five-time All-Star?
“(Joe) Panik’s going to hit next,” Manager Terry Francona said. “Bryan has faced (Posey) twice and struck him out. Like I said, I wasn’t thrilled he was hitting, because he’s a real good hitter, I just think you’re putting the odds in their favor by doing that.”
In all fairness, Panik is the Giants’ third-best hitter according to WAR, slashing .274/.332/.408. The second baseman was not in the lineup on Wednesday, but would have most likely pinch hit for Gorkys Hernandez.
Regardless of where Panik ranks on a horrible offense, his chances to make an impact did not all of a sudden spike upwards because of his relative contributions to said offense. In no world should the threat of a second baseman with a negative oWAR in each of the last two seasons deter you from putting Posey on first.
If Posey’s 0-for-2 efforts against Shaw, with a sacrifice fly, was enough to make the decision an easy one, Panik’s 0-for-1 against the reliever should have been enough.
Not only did Bryan Shaw not get the message to walk Posey, if his directive was to pitch around one of the best hitters in baseball, he failed miserably. Not only was his 3-2 offering right down the pipe, it was a hanging curveball to boot.
In fairness to Shaw, he never should have had to make that pitch because of an error two batters earlier on a groundball to Carlos Santana.
Always excited to wheel to second base to start a double play, Francona said his first baseman may have put the cart before the horse.
“It might have come up a little bit, but we’ve got to get an out,” the skipper decreed. “I think he was thinking about going to second maybe a little too quick. In that situation we’ve got to make sure we get an out.”
The ball should have been fielded by Santana, but Shaw was to blame to a degree. On an 0-2 pitch, the right hander delivered a belt-high cutter on the edge of the plate, too good of a pitch on an 0-2 count.
Brandon Crawford, the first batter to face Shaw and who came around on Posey’s double, also singled on a cutter that was right down the plate.
Prior to Shaw entering in the 8th, lefty-specialist Boone Logan left the game after going down in a heap following ball four to Brandon Belt.
The southpaw immediately grabbed his left side because of a lat issue, according to Terry Francona, who said the look of it all was reason for concern.
“We’ll get him looked at tomorrow, we’ll know more, but it’s hard to imagine him going down like that and having it not be something where he’s not going to miss some time,” he said.