CHICAGO -- Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman's imposing presence on the mound screams a foreboding message. Game over. However, when Chapman confronts the Giants, it's a good idea to examine the batting order to determine whether Buster Posey is due up. If he is, the result might not be so automatic.Posey
CHICAGO -- Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman's imposing presence on the mound screams a foreboding message. Game over. However, when Chapman confronts the Giants, it's a good idea to examine the batting order to determine whether Buster Posey is due up. If he is, the result might not be so automatic.
Posey is 6-for-11 (.545) lifetime against Chapman, who dominates virtually everybody else with his fastball that regularly reaches or exceeds 100 mph, thus making his offspeed pitches more attention-catching.
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Among current or former Major Leaguers, only DJ LeMahieu (3-for-4, .750) eclipses Posey's batting average against Chapman. A handful of hitters with at least six career plate appearances against Chapman have compiled .500 averages in their confrontations, including Norichika Aoki, Mark Ellis, Danny Espinosa and Dexter Fowler.
Posey maintained his spell over Chapman in Friday night's National League Division Series Game 1 by doubling off the left-center-field wall in the ninth inning. It gave the Giants genuine hope, but they still lost, 1-0.
Posey was at a loss for words when he was asked to explain his proficiency against Chapman. When it was suggested that he succeeded at "staying back" by connecting with a slider for his hit, Posey said, "That's not staying back. That's still a 90-mile-an-hour pitch. You see it and react."
San Francisco hitting coach Hensley Meulens explained that Posey hits fastballs better than any other Giant "because his swing is so short and compact." According to "Inside Edge" statistical services, Posey batted .336 (38-for-113) on high fastballs this season.
By now, Meulens jokingly said, Posey probably has bedeviled Chapman to such a degree that "I'm sure [Chapman] doesn't know what to throw him now."
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.