Now, there is still a slight chance the "Big Panda" will sneak onto the team if someone gets injured between now and then, or to a lesser extent, if somebody decides to bail out on the game. Unfortunately, Charlie Manuel decided to take Jayson Werth as a
replacement for Carlos Beltran, who will not be available for the National League. I understand supporting your own players and whatnot, but Sandoval's hitting .328 which is 60 points higher than Werth's .268 clip. Whether he gets to go or not, Pablo Sandoval's first half has to be appreciated, as he's become the most exciting offensive Giant since the days of Barry Bonds. Heading into Friday night's game, Sandoval's also got 13 bombs and 50 RBI to go along with that .328 average. What's more impressive though, is his timing in putting up these numbers. He's been one of the most clutch hitters on the Giants, and puts up his numbers when the team needs them (.364 avg with runners on, .367 w/ RISP and 2 outs), not when the games already decided. Coming into the year, I was expecting Sandoval to be around .280-.290 with his batting average, and possibly finish the year with 15 homers and 75+ RBI, and I would have taken those numbers. However, the 22 year-old versatile beast is on pace to hit .330 with 27 home runs, 98 RBI. Maybe he won't end up in St. Louis for the all-star game this season, but I think he's aware that he's deserving, and I would certainly expect to see Pablo Sandoval be in the running to make many, many more mid-summer classics in the future. It's hard to believe that this is only the kids first full big league season!
Speaking of Giants and the all-star game, Tim Lincecum made his final start before what likely will be his first ever all-star game starting assignment. Lincecum was brilliant for 6 innings, as he took a no-hit bid into the seventh vs. the struggling San Diego Padres, but allowed a leadoff single to Tony Gwynn Jr. and eventually was 3 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. Not a bad start at all, but not one that Lincecum was too pleased about after straight dominating the Padres bats for most of the night. The outing was still go enough to net "The Freak" his 10th win of the year and should still keep him right on track to start in the all-star game on Tuesday evening. Matt Cain, the teams' other all-star, won't pitch until Saturday afternoon, but that would still give him a couple of days rest before the all-star game, so 'Cainer should be available to pitch in the game as well. Bochy said he plans to speak with Manuel about the Giants two pitchers, and will relay that he would like Lincecum to go no more than 2 innings (which is pretty standard for starting pitchers in the all-star game) and Cain to be held to 1.
Bowker Returns: After placing Randy Johnson on the 15-day DL, the Giants re-called outfielder/first basemen Jon Bowker from Fresno. Bowker was absolutely tearing the cover off the
ball for the Grizzlies, as he was hitting .348 with 17 homers and 67 RBI. Giants fans have been clamoring for the powerful lefty to be recalled for a few weeks now, and with Johnson's trip to the DL, it finally became a possibility. The Giants are out of options on Fred Lewis, Nate Schierholtz, and Travis Ishikawa, but can still have one on Bowker, which could actually work against him staying permanently on the roster all year. If he starts hitting like he did in Fresno though, the Giants will find a way to have him stick. He didn't have the best 2009 debut Thursday, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout, but based on the numbers he's put up in Fresno, I'm very intrigued to see how Bowker does this time around.