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The Giants Without Buster Posey

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I staggered to my feet this morning after an all-night newborn-baby bender, and I had a gasoline-and-ipecac nightcap waiting for me. In a home plate collision last night, Buster Posey's ankle decided to point north while the rest of his body went south by southeast. The verdict: broken leg and torn ligaments, out for the year. My first response is to assume the fetal position and suck my thumb. Mommy, make it better, please. 

But let's remember a few things. First, when Pablo Sandoval broke his hamate bone in late April, the Giants were practically the worst-hitting team in baseball, and Pablo was their only good hitter. Guess what: they're still the worst-hitting team in baseball, more or less, no one has replaced the Panda's production, and his replacement at third base Miguel Tejada has  mucked up the defense as well. Oh, and the Giants have moved into first place. Sure, thanks to the Rockies going 0-for-May, or something like that, but still. First place by two and a half games this morning. 

Call me Polly, then call me Anna, but I think they can survive losing Buster's offense for the year. Barring a big trade, his replacement will be, well, replacement-level with the bat. That's losing a couple wins, maybe three or four right there. But if they can upgrade at a few other positions (Sandoval back at third; someone else at shortstop; Brandon Belt, who is on his way to San Francisco right now) perhaps they can compensate, though I'm wary of assuming Belt is going to come back and set the league on fire. The Giants might need a different contingency plan in the outfield. 

Can they survive losing Buster on defense? A catcher's influence on the game is harder to measure, though we know Buster does bad things to an opponent's running game. We don't know enough about Eli Whiteside to say with confidence that he's half (or 75%, or 90%) of the defensive catcher Buster is, but until we see otherwise, let's say losing Buster is like losing another win due to D. Side notes: Bengie Molina is an interesting thought, but if he's done no baseball work in months, he's going to be a long way from baseball-ready. Move Pablo Sandoval behind the dish? No. No. And this: No.

The odds are greater, of course, but with their current place in the standings despite what's already been a plague of injuries (count 'em: Torres, Ross, Wilson, Casilla, Sandoval, Zito), and with their excellent pitching staff, there's no reason the Giants can't make a couple creative moves, butch this one out and squeak past what's once again a very flawed division and into the playoffs. And once in the playoffs, as we've all seen, anything can happen.

One more note that's gotten lost in the Posey carnage: Leaving Javy Lopez in to pitch the entire ninth inning last night when Brian Wilson was greased up and ready was the worst decision Bruce Bochy has made in a long time. Total WTF. Bring in Wilson to face Mike Stanton with the bases loaded, and there's a better chance the Giants go to the bottom of the ninth down only 3-2, they rally to win, and we all wake up this morning saying, "Gee, I had the weirdest dream about Buster Posey: The Giants rally to score four and tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, they go to extra innings, and in the bottom of the 12th, a Florida runner comes barging down the line on a sacrifice fly -- just before the collision, I woke up. Huh. Hey, honey, what's for breakfast?"

Roster moves: Posey and Mike Fontenot (who strained his groin last night) and Darren Ford to the D.L., too (sprained ankle scoring the winning run Sunday); Brandon Belt, veteran minor-league catcher Chris Stewart and -- surprise -- Brandon Crawford coming up, according to Comcast's Michael Urban.

Crawford could be today's starting shortstop.

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