Pablo Sandoval's Return Completes Rejuvenation of San Francisco Giants Offense
Since the legendary Barry Bonds left, the Giants have forsaken offense in favor of exquisite defense and impeccable pitching. This strategy has payed off to some extent, netting the first World Championship in 50 some years, but it has still left the Giants quite inconsistent in the regular season, where the lackluster offense has lied somewhere in between "just enough" and "not quite enough".
Still those times of run-scoring desperation might be coming to an end as the trade-bolstered lineup combined with the maturation of key players has actually turned the Giants offense into something to look forward to.
Led by Buster Posey's ridiculous hot streak, the Giants have actually managed to score the second most runs in the NL since the All-Star break, and with the return of arguably the best Giants hitter, Pablo Sandoval, it's not hard to imagine this trend continuing.
When Sandoval gets back, the Giants will find themselves in the enviable position of having too much middle of the order talent. Melky Cabrera (.348/.392/.519, 148 wRC+) and Buster Posey (.332/.406/.547, 158 wRC+) have of course been unstoppable as the 3-4 punch, but the newly acquired Hunter Pence (.258/.318/.429, 101 wRC+) might be ready to step up and provide the power the Giants have been looking for.
Sandoval's return will put the powerful Hunter Pence (career .288/.340/.478, 117 wRC+) in the six hole and extend the juice of the lineup. But the production doesn't stop there as "controversial" former prospect Brandon Belt has actually come alive of late, hitting .406/.476/.568 over the last two weeks, raising his overall line to a solid .260/.360/.401, 113 wRC+.
With Angel Pagan (.278/.330/.411, 103 wRC+) and Marco Scutaro (.313/.361/.422, 109 wRC+ with the Giants so far) doing their jobs at the top of the lineup, this leaves defensive wizard Brandon Crawford (.241/.297/.337, 67 wRC+) as the only real offensive hole in the lineup.
Having solid production up and down the lineup with a powerful middle of the order is something Giants fans have dreamed of for years and it looks like that might finally be here. They won't be leading the league, but even if they're just a little bit better than average—something which hasn't happened since 2004—that should be more than enough for a pitching and fielding staff that has ranked as one of the best in the game since 2009.
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