The first half of Monday nights Giants/Angels game wasn't pretty. The Giants were down 8-0 in the fourth inning and those not at the ballpark probably started looking for something else to watch on television. However, even though they still lost, the Giants showed some fight by coming back and making it just a 2-run ballgame, something they haven't really done over the last few years.
A big reason for that comeback was Pablo Sandoval. In the last post, I talked a little bit about how Sandoval's kind of taken over as "the man" in the Giants' offense, but on Monday night, he really proved it. The Giants' rotund third basemen/first basemen/catcher had himself his best night as a Major Leaguer. Sandoval went 3-5, with 2 jacks and 4 RBI and almost single handily brought the Giants back into the ballgame. With 3 more hits in the game, Sandoval raised his average to a season high .332, good for second amongst NL third basemen. With the way he's played lately, Sandoval is starting to make a case for himself to make the NL All-Star team. The only other guy who's hitting higher than Sandoval at third base is David Wright. The Mets' third basemen is leading the NL in hitting and will start for the NL at the hot corner on July 14th, despite his low run production numbers. Then there's Ryan Zimmerman, whose .310 batting average, 12 homers, and 42 RBI are likely to land him on the squad as well. However, Sandoval has the versatility to catch as well, and the catching position is going to be thin for the NL squad this year. In fact, outside of Bengie Molina, there really isn't any other catcher in the league that really deserves to be at the mid-summer classic. Whether he makes it as a corner-infielder, or a catcher, it's pretty clear that Pablo Sandoval needs to be on the NL All-Star team. Also, keep in mind that he won't even turn 23 years old until August, so the kid's nowhere near as good as he's going to be quite yet.
Speaking of Giants on a roll lately, ever since Nate Schierholtz and Andres Torres have been getting reps in left field consistently, they're answering the bell. I talked a little about Schierholtz's big game on Sunday, and that could possibly getting his season jump-started, and he followed up Sunday's game with a 2-3 night Monday night. However, Andres Torres is actually playing a little better than Schierholtz at the moment. Torres has been on an absolute roll ever since coming off the DL and rejoining the team in late May. In 22 June at-bats, the 31 year-old speedster has filled up the stat sheet, hitting .364 (8-22) with a home run, 6 RBI, 2 steals and 5 runs scored. Of the 8 hits in June, 5 have been for extra-bases, which Schierholtz (8 total extra-base hits in 82 at-bats) haven't been providing. In has last 4 ballgames, Torres has been especially productive, going 6-11 with a homer, 2 doubles, a triple and 4 RBI. Torres is also the best defensive outfielder on the 25-man roster, according to many in the organization. I think the Giants were expecting more of a pinch-run, late inning defensive replacement when they decided to add Andres Torres to the roster coming out of spring training, but he's starting to show them that he deserves a share of the at-bats too. And again, I'm not writing off Fred Lewis in anyway, just pointing out that there are 2 guys who are swinging it better and fielding it better than him right now, and the lineup should be filled out accordingly.
Up Next: Jonathan Sanchez starts Tuesday night for the Giants, and it's a big night for the Giants' young lefty. Sanchez has not had a very good year so far and he's coming off an outing in which he walked 7 batters in less than 6 innings. A lot has been said in recent weeks about possibly dealing Sanchez for a bat, and now with the Giants atop the NL wild-card standings, they may be more inclined than ever to make a move. There should be a few scouts on hand checking out Sanchez tonight, let's hope he has a good one.