The Dodgers Can’t Let Buster Posey Beat Them


The series we’ve been waiting for is finally here. The Dodgers and the Giants, Baseball’s version of the Hatfields’ and the McCoys’ will duke it out in a weekend series at San Francisco with the NL West championship hanging in the balance.

The Dodgers enter the pivotal three game series with a two game advantage over San Francisco, with three more games scheduled for September 22-24 at Dodger Stadium. Both clubs come into the series playing well. The Dodgers (83-63) have won six of their last nine games, and just completed a series win over San Diego. Meanwhile the Giants have won eight of their last eleven played, and just finished off a three game sweep of the Dbacks. Each club will be sending their top three pitchers to the mound in all three matches. Hyun-jin Ryu will open the series for the Dodgers against San Francisco’s 17-game winner Madison Bumgarner

Can Donnie keep his belt buckles from jingling and jangling this series?-Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the Giants playing so well, the Dodgers better bring their A-game this weekend. Caution should be exercised in this series. One of the important things to consider in a series of this magnitude is to pinpoint the opposing club’s top offensive threat, and not let him beat you. Mitigating the other club’s hot bat is a great strategy to employ.

The hottest bat in the Giant’s lineup right now is catcher/first baseman Buster Posey. The guy has been tearing the cover off the ball for the last several weeks. The Dodgers just simply can’t let him beat them. DON’T PITCH TO HIM!

Just how hot has Posey been over the last few weeks? Overall the right handed hitting backstop is batting a slash line of .309/.361/.489. He’s hit 20 home runs and has 82 RBI in 552 plate appearances. Those are good numbers. But check out how he has hit since the beginning of August.

Posey hit .336 with a .951 OPS, six home runs and 17 RBI in the month of August. He’s been even more scary in September, where he is slugging .750, with a .472 (17 for 36) average, and a 1.238 OPS. With runners in scoring position he is hitting .331 (40 for 121) with 55 runs driven in.

Overall the Dodgers have done a great job of keeping Posey quiet, despite the Giants holding a slight 7-6 series edge. Posey has hit just .239 (11 for 46) with two home runs in 56 plate appearances in 2014 against the Dodgers. But He’s gotten hot, and you can throw those numbers out the window in this important series.

In his career Posey is batting .285 (71 for 249) with nine home runs and an .828 OPS against the Dodgers. Although note Posey has struggled against the big three. Hyun-jin Ryu has limited him to just a .238 (5 for 21) average against with one home run, and three walks. The pumpkin slugger is hitting just .192 (10 for 52) against Clayton Kershaw, and has just a .661 OPS against Zack Greinke.

Even though Hunter Pence is hitting .429 (9 for 21) against Ryu, his .785 OPS in September, and .250 (13 for 52) average against the Dodgers this season is human. The numbers that Posey has put up over the last few weeks have not been human.

One of the biggest weapons a manager has in his arsenal is the intentional walk. If used correctly, it can be an effective strategy to bypass your opponent’s hottest bat. We all know that Don Mattingly likes to roll the dice during games. He’s a cowboy. He likes to challenge people. But this is no time to do that with Posey. Just don’t pitch to him. If there is a base open, you walk him, and take your chances with Hunter Pence or fatso Sandoval, or whoever is hitting behind him.

Posey is gross, he is gross, just don’t pitch to him-Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Back in my salad days I can still vividly remember the Dodgers using this strategy to bypass the annoying flat board like home run swing, and dangling earrings of Barry Bonds. It normally worked. But we all can remember Bonds making the Dodgers pay whenever they did pitch to him with runners on base.

I know Mattingly’s urge will be to challenge Posey in this series. But that would be foolish. Let’s not take any foolhardy chances here. Even though Posey looks like a 15-year old boy in a MLB uniform, he’s been hitting like the second coming off Ted Williams the last five weeks or so. Don’t take the risk. The Dodgers must walk him, and Err on the side of caution.

Somehow I fear that Mattingly will not listen to my warnings. Let’s pray that sanity prevails this weekend at At&t Park.

Don’t be a hero Donnie. DO NOT PITCH TO BUSTER POSEY!