San Francisco Giants: Pablo Sandoval Fitting in Well as Bench Player
By Jeff Young
The Washington Nationals beat the San Francisco Giants 15-2. The Giants probably could have won if they scored 14 more runs. But, I don’t want to get hung up on minute details like this. Despite the loss, Pablo Sandoval continued to prove his worth as a bench player.
In a game that was over before it started, Sandoval gave San Francisco Giants fans something small to cheer about. He went 2-3 on the day. This included a double and an RBI.That was no ordinary RBI. This was an RBI that was earned. Sandoval came up in the sixth, and launched a double to score Belt.
Why is this important? Well, the answer is twofold. The first part is that Sandoval is proving to be a good bench player. He is batting .242 with a .730 OPS. These are not eye-popping stats. However, these stats are more than serviceable for a bench player.
Sandoval still is a power threat. He is a bad ball hitter, and can reach just about any pitch from his toes to above his head. He will even swing at a pitch in the dirt if it bounces up high enough for him to make contact.
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Sandoval is not the player he used to be. However, that does not mean he cannot still be useful. He is proving this to be true. Additionally, Sandoval provides good insurance in the case of a Brandon Belt or Evan Longoria injury.
The second reason Sandoval’s RBI today is important? He got a hit with a runner in scoring position. The Giants have been abysmal at hitting with runners in scoring position. Sandoval’s RBI does not change that. However, in a game that was over very early on, Sandoval was still executing situational hitting.
The Giants are hitting .172 with runners in scoring position. That still seems awfully high for this Giants team. Will it remain this low for the entire season? Probably not. But, if it does, that will be a problem. Not surprising, the Giants are in last place in this category.
So, the Giants are not hitting with runners in scoring position. However, Sandoval showed that he still has a knack for these types of situations. Even if the game was way out of reach by then.
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Sandoval’s joyful personality, positional versatility, and hitting acumen have been on display this season. He is fitting into his new role seamlessly. If he keeps this up, he could even make a second career out of it. In the meantime, let’s appreciate one of the few positives from the Giants embarrassing loss to the Nationals.