Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A Buster Posey-Madison Bumgarner matchup will have to wait until next year

PHOENIX – A much-anticipated matchup between the three-time World Series champions is unlikely to happen until next year.

With Madison Bumgarner starting Tuesday’s game for the Diamondbacks against the Giants, San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said Monday that the team plans to keep catcher Buster Posey out of the starting lineup.

The Giants have been disciplined throughout the season in making up the rest of Posey’s schedule and the veteran backstop rarely starts three games in a row. Tuesday will mark the third day in a row that Posey made an appearance in the team’s starting lineup, but Kapler confirmed the Giants’ current plan calls for backup Kurt Casali to catch starter Johnny Cueto.

The Giants are also reluctant to push Posey too hard after a catcher pulled out of Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers after Los Angeles center fielder AJ Pollock picked up a foul ball from his mask. Posey returned to the lineup on Friday, but did not play against the Astros on Saturday before going 1-for-3 with a walk in Sunday’s series finale.

Kapler understands fans were expecting to see Posey and Bumgarner square off for the first time in their major league careers, but the club is prioritizing a schedule that will keep the catcher fresh and effective. While mapping out his start and rest days through this Sunday’s series finale in Milwaukee, the Giants determined that Tuesday would be an important day for Posey to get off his feet.

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The Diamondbacks will tour San Francisco next week, but excluding changes to the team’s current rotation, Bumgarner’s next start will be against the Padres in San Diego on Sunday. That means the Giants legend will not be lined up to pitch at Oracle Park, where he hasn’t thrown in front of fans since his last friendly for San Francisco in 2019.

Bumgarner faced the Giants last season as a member of the Diamondbacks, when he completed 4.0 innings and allowed two earned runs in a 4–3 Giants victory on September 5.

Posey was not in the lineup that day as he and his wife, Kristen, chose to sit through the 2020 60-game season after adopting identical newborn twin girls in July. Bumgarner faced Brandon Belt last year, but he didn’t match up with Giants shortstop and longtime teammate Brandon Crawford and will likely do so for the first time on Tuesday.

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The 2022 matchup for Bumgarner and Posey is still on the table as the left-hander enters a third season of five years, an $85 million deal with Arizona, while the Giants’ catcher is likely to stay with the club. The Giants will consider Posey’s $22 million team option, but it is also possible that both sides agree to an extension that will keep the 34-year-old in San Francisco beyond next year.

A Buster Posey-Madison Bumgarner matchup will have to wait until next year
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