In the ninth inning of the San Francisco Giants 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night, a very rare thing happened: the Giants suffered an infield collision. Third baseman Evan Longoria and shortstop Brandon Crawford collided while both going after a ground ball, which cost a run and nearly cost the Giants the game.
It didn’t, but it might cost them some games in the future. Longoria, who exited the game after the play, has been placed on the Injured List and will be out 4-6 weeks with a left shoulder sprain. Taking his place on the roster is Thairo Estrada, who has been called up from AAA Sacramento.
Evan Longoria will miss four to six weeks because of a sprained shoulder, Gabe Kapler said. He's on the IL and Thairo Estrada is on the roster.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) June 6, 2021
It’s a big hit for the Giants, as Longoria has been having a tremendous season. He’s started using a lighter bat, and the result is that he’s spent nearly the entire season being in the top three of all MLB players in terms of average exit velocity. Longoria’s wRC+ of 146 matches the highest of his career, and his fWAR of 1.7 has almost matched the best mark he’s put up in his three previous seasons with the Giants (1.9 in 2019), despite it still being relatively early in the season. He was making a strong All-Star case, though that will be sidelined as he is.
Up comes Estrada, a 25-year old righty who has 61 career plate appearances, all with the New York Yankees. Estrada has been destroying the baseball in Sacramento, hitting .381/.435/.629 in 115 AAA plate appearances this season. He also has 8 errors, so his chances of replicating Longoria’s offense are higher than his chances of replicating the defense.
Hopefully Longoria heals up quickly, and rejoins a Giants team that’s in the same place in the NL West as the one he’s leaving.