Following Sunday afternoon’s game between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies, Buster Posey spoke out after being hit by Hector Neris.
Pigs flew across the Bay Area as spectators at AT&T Park witnessed an uncharacteristically riled up Buster Posey. The normally levelheaded San Francisco Giants backstop voiced his frustrations with being hit by Hector Neris at a pivotal point in his team’s 5-2 loss to the Phillies.
Trailing 4-2, the Giants put two runners on after two quick outs in the bottom of the eighth inning as one of their best scoring opportunities of the game. No sooner had Posey, already 2-for-3 with an RBI, entered the batter’s box than Neris hit him in the back with a 95-mph fastball.
Those watching saw Posey being escorted by the home plate umpire to first base while asking Neris several times, “Was that on purpose?” Without giving him an answer, Neris struck out Pablo Sandoval to end the inning.
The game continued and it seemed as if the matter was put to rest until Posey’s postgame interview.
"“I’m pretty certain he hit me on purpose and it’s just a shame because I wanted to compete in that at-bat,” Posey said (per knbr.com). “I guess he didn’t feel like he could get me out.”"
When Posey’s words reached the visiting clubhouse, Neris fired back by saying he did not purposely hit Posey, claiming it would be “stupid” to put the tying run in scoring position intentionally.
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Stupid or smart?
However, is it really that stupid to put the tying run in scoring position if you know that there are two outs and the batter at the plate is one of the best in the major leagues? His .321 batting average is good for sixth between both leagues and he is fifth in the National League with a .410 OBP. Because of his success, Posey has been intentionally walked a career-high 12 times this season, including three games where he was purposely put on first twice.
What is even more compelling in the argument against Neris’ claim is the batter who came after him. Compared to Posey’s .306 average with runners in scoring position, Sandoval is only hitting .186 in the same situation.
Not the first time
Nonetheless, batters are hit by pitches regularly and nothing blaringly points toward why it brought out this different side of Posey. Yet, looking at the season as a whole, Posey might be fed up with being hit by pitches.
Since pitchers are increasingly pitching to Posey inside, his hit-by-pitch number is through the roof. Starting with a hit-by-pitch during the home opener that hit him on the helmet and put him on the concussion list for over a week, Posey has been hit by eight pitches this season, tying his career-high he set in 2013.
What makes matters worse was their loss to the Phillies officially knocked the Giants out of the running for the NL West. This, along with the frustration of not being able to help his team win, may have been the cause of Posey’s unusual response to being hit by Neris.
“It would have been fun, big spot, it would have been fun to hit,” Posey said.