NBC Sports

Buster homers twice in win, 'hasn't missed a beat' for Giants

NBC Sports
Giants' Buster Posey

Alex Dickerson made his Giants debut in the middle of the 2019 season, a year in which Buster Posey rushed back from hip surgery and struggled to come anywhere close to his old production at the plate. Dickerson became an everyday player for the Giants in 2020, when Posey opted out a month before the start of the season. 

Dickerson has never played with the All-Star version of the face of the franchise, but he has been around the NL West long enough that he knows what to look for. Dickerson made his San Diego Padres debut in 2015, about 10 months after Posey won his third World Series, and as he watched Posey take huge swings Tuesday night in Philadelphia, Dickerson felt a familiar feeling.

"I got to see him when he was at his best, and he's right back there," Dickerson said Tuesday in a video conference after the Giants' 10-7 win over the Phillies. "He hasn't really missed a beat."

Posey had two homers on a night when the Giants hit five while stunning the Phillies. The final two -- three-run shots by Dickerson and Wilmer Flores -- wiped out a two-run deficit in the eighth. Tommy La Stella also added a two-run homer early, his first as a Giant, but it was Posey's swings that stood out. 

 

The Giants took Posey in the first round in 2008 and a year later drafted a tall right-hander named Zack Wheeler. For a couple of years, it looked like the two would lead the franchise into the next decade together, but Wheeler was dealt to the New York Mets after Posey got hurt in 2011. It appears Posey has never forgotten what Wheeler's stuff looks like back then, though. 

Posey jumped on a slider in the fifth inning and hit a 428-foot blast to left-center. An inning later, he got a 98 mph fastball up and in and somehow yanked it into the seats in left for his first multi-homer game since 2016. It was Posey's first homer on a pitch 98 mph or above in six years, and according to Inside Edge, he became just the third player in the last three seasons to homer on a pitch that was 98-plus and also was up-and-in. 

"He's getting to pitches that, quite frankly, I don't see many people getting to," Dickerson said. "Zack Wheeler is about as good as it gets in MLB and he took him deep twice, so I would say Buster's back."

You might be able to say the same of the whole offense, which has struggled through most of April. The 10 runs were a season-high and they were perfectly timed. The Giants haven't gotten many down nights from their pitchers, but Logan Webb allowed four runs in four innings. The Phillies added two more off Jarlin Garcia, but the Giants never panicked. 

Dickerson credited the pitching staff for being "incredible to this point" and picking up all the slack, but the lineup was finally ready to carry all the load Tuesday. The five-homer night was the first in two seasons under manager Gabe Kapler, who has insisted all month that a breakout was coming. 

"I think it more represents the type of offense that we are," Kapler said. 

The Giants were confident in the group last year, and they felt it would be a true strength this season as one of the best lineups in the National League. Kapler mentioned Tuesday that, however you felt about the success over the 60-game season, you couldn't deny that the lineup would be better with Posey back and La Stella in the mix.

Both were heavily involved Tuesday, along with the usual mix of good pinch-hit at-bats.

Darin Ruf's walk with two outs in the fifth assured that turning the game over to the bullpen wouldn't be a mistake, and it set up La Stella's homer. Flores came off the bench three innings later for his first pinch-hit homer as a Giant. 

"We know what we're capable of," Flores said. "Our offense hasn't been there so far, but we're going to wake up. This is a good win tonight."

Download and subscribe to the Giants Talk Podcast