Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Pablo Sandoval's time to shine

San Francisco Giants' Pablo Sandoval reacts after being struck out by Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg during the second inning at Nationals Park in Washington on July 9, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom
There is no way to argue that this season has not been a huge disappointment for Pablo Sandoval offensively.

Last season the guy was a revelation.  It seemed like just about every other game he was getting a big hit or homerun.  He was easily the most exciting player, offensively at least, on the Giants in 2009.  His .330 BA, 25 HRs, and 90 RBIs were numbers that hadn't been put up by a player in San Francisco since that guy named Bonds left town.  He narrowly missed making the All-Star team last season(and he would of if it weren't for that ridiculous Bran-Torino marketing campaign) and he would have won the 2009 rookie of the year award had he only had like 10 less ABs in 2008.

2010 started where 2009 left off.  As late as May 4th he was still batting over .330.  Then in the 61 games from May 5th through July 11th Pablo hit .231 with 3 HRs and 24 RBIs.  He turned into Mr. GIDP and the man who created a cottage industry for Panda hats was suddenly a fat guy trying to play third base.

He looked like he was going to break out of his slump early in August but he floundered.  His struggles have come to a head on the most recent road trip in which he hit a weak .136.  He had 1 RBI in 8 games and was benched for 2 of the games in the Padres series.

Why will he shine now?

The Giants play 12 of their final 18 games at home.  He must like the Rice-a-Roni or something because he has raked at home this season.  He is batting .336 at home, 8 of his 12 HRs have been hit at AT&T, and 37 of his 59 RBIs have been picked up on the shores of McCovey cove.  The numbers get even more ridiculous at home for Pablo.  His home OBP is a Bondsian .391, his home OPS is .926, and he even has 3 triples at home this season!

All the games for the rest of the season for the Giants are going to be huge.  With the Padres, Rockies, Phillies, and Braves are all battling for the Wild Card in addition to the 3 team race in the west.  The Giants can't afford to lost ANY games let alone the ones against division rivals.  Pablo Sandoval will have the chance to join the Buster Poseys, Aubrey Huffs, Juan Uribes, and Andres Torreses who have each stepped up to carry this team at different point this season.

The injury to Andres Torres provides a hole offensively that the Giants need to fill.  If Pablo steps up and produces in his absence and during these super important games he will be able to win back the hearts of all of those Giants fans who abandoned him while he was struggling.  He has struggled this season and he has even been the goat in a few games this season.  But the guy is 24 years old.  These are the most important games of the season.  He will prove that he has the heart of the champion.

He has to if the Giants want to make the postseason.

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