Buster Posey pushed the Giants a little closer to the NL West title last night, popping a two-run homer off Wade Miley that proved to be the difference in San Francisco's 3-2 win over the Diamondbacks. Posey has shown no ill effects from last year's home plate collision, making a compelling MVP case by ranking near the top in all three triple-crown categories: third in batting (.333) and on-base percentage (.407), and ninth in slugging (.546).
While the result was a game-altering, opposite-field homer, Miley had the right idea by tossing Posey a low-and-away fastball. That's the only portion of the zone where Posey hasn't gone all Ty Cobb on pitchers when they feed him a fastball or a sinker:
Posey's average by pitch location against fastballs and sinkers
Posey's batting .377 overall against fastballs and sinkers, ranking behind only Andrew McCutchen (.388) among qualified hitters. The Giants' backstop makes scads of contact against fastballs/sinkers (13.9% miss rate, 15.9% MLB average) and doesn't chase off the plate, swinging 21.8% of the time he gets an out-of-zone fastball or sinker (25.5% MLB average). That combo of contact and patience is how Posey gets in hitter's counts like the one that produced last night's deciding homer, and that approach has helped him rank 18th in the majors in fastball slugging (.593).
Miley hit his target last night. But the lefty, like many other pitchers this season, learned the hard way that there's no safe spot for a fastball with Posey at the plate.