San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt suffered a fractured left thumb while attempting to bunt (against the shift, apparently) on Sunday for the Giants. As a result, he will miss at least the remainder of the regular season, and his return date during the playoffs is currently undetermined.
This is obviously a major injury for San Francisco — for their resurgent lineup in 2021, Belt leads the team with a 159 OPS+ and has 29 homers in only 97 games. (He missed almost two months because of a right knee injury earlier this year.) The Giants are already without one-time Dodger acqusition Darin Ruf, who has a 141 OPS+ in 114 games.
The news made me curious to compare major injuries between the Giants and the Dodgers this season. As a resource, I used these pages for San Francisco and Los Angeles available at Fangraphs.
I’m not looking to make a definitive analysis here — this is meant as a very quick sketch, and your kilometerage may vary — but my initial take is that the Dodgers have had it worse, mainly because of Dustin May, a major starting pitcher who has been sidelined all but a month this year. May had a 2.74 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 13.7 K/9 through 23 innings.
But between the two teams, it’s closer than it might first appear. Not unlike the Dodgers, the Giants have been hit very hard.
- Two front-line Dodgers, Corey Seager and Clayton Kershaw, each missed about 2 1/2 months. That said, Belt’s injuries could combine with those of Johnny Cueto to approach that.
- Injuries have helped destroy Cody Bellinger’s season, but whether he was going to be better than Evan Longoria, who has missed a similar amount of time, is anyone’s guess at this point.
- I was sort of in shock by the accumulation of days on the injured list by Tony Gonsolin. But I don’t know how much worse that is than the Giants losing veritable ace Logan Webb along with Alex Wood for a combined 80+ days.
- The Dodger bullpen appears has taken bigger hits, though maybe that was to be expected.
- For a team that meshes parts together as much as the Giants, Tommy La Stella is a significant piece of the puzzle to lose for three months.
- Mookie Betts’s 28 days might not seem like a lot compared with the others. Then again, he’s Mookie Freakin’ Betts.
The timing of Belt’s injury could hardly be worse for San Francisco. But at the same time, I’m knocking on wood while holding my breath that something similar doesn’t happen in Los Angeles.
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