Sometimes, when a star player goes down with an injury, a rookie or otherwise obscure substitute steps in and saves the day. Wally Pipp’s headache provided Lou Gehrig’s opportunity. When one door closes, so they say, another opens.
Since the 2010 Rookie of the Year went down for the season with a broken leg, the Giants have played 13 games. Over that span they’re 7-6: not great, but obviously not slumping either. No reason to panic over that result.
But it’s clear that San Francisco has avoided a slump not because of the performance of the substitutes filling in for Posey, but despite it. Erstwhile backup Eli Whiteside has taken over as the new first-stringer, and minor league journeyman Chris Stewart has been called up to become the new backup.
Over these 13 games, Whiteside and Stewart have combined to go 4-for-40 (a neat .100 batting average) at the plate. All four hits have been singles. They’ve combined to score one run, and drive in one.
And, over these 13 games, opposing baserunners have stolen 13 bases, while being thrown out just twice.
Certainly, 13 games is a very small sample. While neither Whiteside nor Stewart has a track record of good hitting, they’re not going to hit .100 all season long.
Still, it’s just too obvious that they’re off to a terrible start at the unenviable task of replacing Buster Posey. The Giants simply cannot expect to hold first place much longer unless they begin to get at least something approaching acceptable performance from their catchers.