A loud fanbase has noticed Buster Posey’s decline. Even Bruce Bochy, his greatest defender, could no longer ignore the numbers and dropped him in the order at the end of August.
Posey himself admitted his confidence is not what it used to be.
“If you look at my numbers, you can tell I haven’t had the greatest year,” said Posey, who’s slashing .257/.324/.370 after the Giants’ 6-4 loss to the Pirates at Oracle Park on Monday. “So confidence is probably not going to be at an all-time high.”
If the catcher can’t slug his way out of this precipitous drop — he now has 11 home runs total last year and this year — he wanted to try to redirect opposing defenders to will his way on base.
Posey, batting second, laid down a bunt down the third-base line in the first inning with Mike Yastrzemski on first. “Just a little too hard,” Bochy accurately said, as third baseman Erik Gonzalez threw him out.
It went down as Posey’s first sacrifice bunt of his career, in his 5,116th plate appearance. He hopes defenses will remember it’s in his arsenal.
“I think it was the Oakland series, I looked back and saw [Matt] Chapman like 2 feet on the outfield grass. I’m not even necessarily trying to get a hit,” said Posey, who finished 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and a single. “If that happens, that’s nice, but they’re playing that deep, it just really cuts down the angles you can get a hit on. I don’t know how often it will happen, but it would be nice to have them in a little bit closer.”
He signaled it might not be the last time you see the six-time All-Star try to claw, rather than power, his way on base.
“I think I’ll have to bunt some more before [third basemen play in],” said the 32-year-old. “I think you got to pick and choose the right spots.”
It was all part of a frustrating night for Posey, who actually has been swinging better of late. He entered 10-of-23 (.435) in his past six games, but his power has disappeared. He said he physically feels fine, even if home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild bothered him mentally in the fifth.
With two on and one out in a 1-1 game, Posey swung and made contact with catch Jacob Stallings’ glove. What replay showed should have been catcher’s interference and loaded the bases just went down as strike two. Posey and Bochy argued to no avail, and he was struck out on the next pitch.
“If you can look at a hit by pitch, why can’t that be reviewed?” said Posey, who blamed the system rather than the umpire. “[Fairchild] said he had me fouling it off. But I could tell — something felt different.”
It has gotten harder and harder for Posey to reach base, with or without the right calls.
Will Smith is day to day, Bochy said, with back stiffness. The closer was not used again, and the Giants’ relief corps blew the game in the ninth without him.