Without a doubt, the most obvious reason for the increase in San Francisco’s run production is the return of a healthy Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval.
The twosome missed a combined 162 games in 2011—so basically, the Giants were playing without one of them for a full season. Now, however, both players are back to 100 percent—and both are performing as if they are at 100 percent.
After suffering a devastating and famous injury last season, there was a question about how quickly Posey would regain his form—both at the plate and in the field.
Well, there’s no wonder now, as the third-year catcher has knocked out a .333 batting average, with four home runs, nine runs batted in and 11 runs scored in 20 games played.
Truly awesome. On his way to a Comeback Player of the Year nomination, for sure.
Meanwhile, Sandoval is free and clear of his ailments from last season too. The Kung Fu Panda is back at full strength, sporting a .323 batting average, with five home runs, 15 RBI, and 16 runs scored. Clearly, he is kicking some tail at the plate.
The success of Posey and Sandoval, solidified again in the heart of the Giants’ lineup, has made the team a more formidable force offensively. San Francisco ranks sixth in the league in team batting average and fourth in slugging percentage. There are fewer 1-0 losses for the team and more 5-4 victories.
Will the dynamic duo be able to keep it up throughout the entire season? Right now, the pair are on a sizzling pace, but who knows how long they can stay hot?
As it stands, Posey is still being looked after closely. He won’t be overworked by the team, and more shifts at first base will keep his bat in the lineup and his legs stretched out. Look for him to continue to dominate as he makes a case for an All-Star bid at catcher.
Sandoval, too, can earn an All-Star nod if he repeats his April performance in May. The switch-hitting third baseman is dominating opposing pitchers, which the Giants very much need from their cleanup hitter.