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Murphy: Buster back to bashing, tells doubters not so fast


Holy power numbers, Buster Posey!

Was it something we said?

In case you’ve given up on the 2017 Giants to focus your sports life solely on parsing, Zapruder-like, Zaza Pachulia’s precise movements towards Kawhi Leonard, you’ve missed a power surge from the Giants’ likely Cooperstown-bound catcher, the likes we haven’t seen in a while.

With a home run in each of the Giants’ May 8-9-10 games at Citi Field in New York, with his post-midnight Friday night/Saturdaymorning blast at AT&T vs. Cincinnati — you remember that one, the one that caused Buster to toss his bat aside in disgust, as if to say this world is not strong enough for his mighty blasts; the one that caused him to gaze skyward in a thankful pose for ending 17 innings in the crouch; the one that caused Duane Kuiper to exult, for all of us, “YES!” — and with one more last night in the win over the Dodgers, ol’ Gerald D. Posey is on a tater tear like few in his decorated career.

Five home runs in his last six starts matches his best week since his magical MVP year of 2012, when he did so in August of that World Series year. And six home runs in the current month of May — with plenty of May left — matches his career best since that same month, August, 2012.

In other words, it’s been four full seasons and then some, 28 full months of at-bats, since Posey lit up the scoreboard like this.

Few saw this home run hailstorm coming. After all, Posey had been beaned on the day of the Giants’ home opener, and homered only once in the month of April. This, after a tailspin last year that saw Posey hit no home runs in the month of August, 2016, and only two in September, 2016.

The conclusion was easy for us sports bloviators to make. At age 30, in his eighth full of year of catching, with three extra Octobers heaped in; with an ankle that was surgically repaired back in 2011 and surely fraying with age; and with the natural decline that comes to all big league catchers, the days of Buster as a 20-homer-a-season threat were over.

At least that’s what all us know-it-alls said. His 22 homer season of 2014 would likely be his last, and the Giants would spend the next few years of his contract (it runs through 2021) with a Gold Glove defensive catcher who was mostly a singles hitter.

Mind, an outstanding singles hitter. Posey is a career .309 hitter, and totes a whopping .375 average into Tuesday night’s game against the Dodgers.

But that would be the deal, right? The Giants would have to rely on Brandon Belt to provide power, with a sprinking of Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford. The strategy would be to then slowly turn their focus to Christian Arroyo and his band of millennials — your Austin Slaters, your Bryan Reynoldses, your Mac Williamsons and your Chris Shaws.

Not so fast, says Buster, chucking aside the doubters, just as he tossed aside that bat at 12:43 on Saturday morning.

Why has this happened? For one, he’s made a mechanical adjustment, eschewing a timing-heavy leg kick for a much quicker and tighter load off his front foot. It’s working.

The other reason would be that Buster Posey is one of the great competitors in Giants history, and he refused to stand by and watch his power dissipate. His competitive burn is less obvious than, say a seed-tossing Pence, but anyone who saw his quite distinct and enunciated F-Bomb — and no, he wasn’t shouting ‘FRED!’ — after his drive to Triples Alley on Friday night died in a glove, got a peek at how Posey burns.

Power outage? Team losing? Posey wasn’t content to collect checks. He adjusted his load, let his noggin heal from the beaning, and now is on a career-best power surge.

The Giants, drowning in the first six weeks of the season, will happily climb aboard this rescue craft, powered by Posey. We’ll see how far he can take them.

 

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