Where Posey fits in NL MVP race
SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the San Francisco Giants leaned over the dugout railing right after Buster Posey blasted his 20th homer of the season on "Sunday Night Baseball," and posed a rhetorical question.
"How does someone take funky swings like that -- and then hit a ball over [the] center field [fence]?" Posey's teammate asked, in the midst of the Giants' 4-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which extended San Francisco's lead in the NL West to a sturdy 5½ games.
Posey is known as an excellent two-strike hitter, someone who is not afraid to get deep into the count and face a bunch of nasty stuff. Joe Blanton, who made Sunday's start for the Dodgers in place of Clayton Kershaw, felt he had thrown a ton of great pitches. Time after time, however, Posey fended them off, like a tennis player volleying at the net. But when Blanton finally threw an imperfect pitch -- the 10th pitch of the at-bat -- Posey's swing went from defensive to offensive, and he crushed the ball. From Alex Pavolic's story:
- "That's one of the best at-bats I've ever had off of me," Blanton said. "I threw him at least five put-away pitches, I thought. And he just kept fouling them off. I make one mistake and it's a homer."
Posey has an OPS of 1.100 since the All-Star break, the best in the majors by a margin of almost 50 points, and this surge has pushed him right into the middle of what has become a very interesting race for NL MVP.
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