Heading into the season, arguably the best Giants defensive player was Brandon Crawford.
But through 24 games this season, the usually sure-handed Crawford has looked like the team’s biggest liability. He already has six errors, almost as many as he had in 65 games last season.
Crawford doesn’t have an explanation for the sudden frequency of miscues.
On Tuesday, the shortstop wrote an entry on his MLB.com Blog “Brandon and Brandon,” which he shares with Brandon Belt. The blog entry comes on the heels of a two-error game last Thursday which led to Giants manager Bruce Bochy benching Crawford on Friday and Saturday.
“For the first time ever in my baseball career, I felt a little crack in my confidence. It’s something I’ve never experienced. I’ve made two errors in a game before. But never like on Thursday where I just completely missed the ball and didn’t know why.”
Last season, there were many great debates about whether Crawford should be the starting shortstop. He played amazing defense, but really struggled in the batter’s box.
During spring training this year, though, Crawford started to hit, posting a .333 average in 21 games. On top of that, he didn’t make a single error. Some, including myself, thought that maybe Crawford had figured something out and was on the verge of morphing into a complete player.
But then he made an error in the second inning of the first game of the season. Then he made another in the third game. Thursday’s two-error nightmare had everybody wondering what was wrong with Crawford.
Although Bochy gave Crawford a couple days to forget about everything, he told CSNBayArea’s Andrew Baggarly that he wasn’t that concerned:
“This is a young kid and a gifted shortstop. We’ll all have our ups and downs and get shaken a little bit, but we think a lot of him.”
Bochy put Crawford back out at shortstop on Sunday. As Crawford wrote in the blog entry, that was a big moment for him:
“In some ways it was good to have those two days off to regroup. But I couldn’t wait to get back out there, too. I started on Sunday, and I was really glad to get a grounder in the first inning.”
On Monday, Crawford found himself back on the bench. But after a disastrous defensive game by the entire Giants team, Bochy went back to Crawford last night even though the Giants were facing Clayton Kershaw, one of the best lefties in the game, and Crawford was back to his old self with the glove. He had seven assists, which included starting the huge double play to preserve the lead in the 8th inning.
Crawford’s been known for his defense from the moment the Giants drafted him out of UCLA in the fourth round in 2008. He will figure things out. Great defensive players always do. But for the rest of this season, all eyes are on him.