San Francisco Giants: Melky Cabrera's Positive Drug Test Damages Playoff Hopes

Steven SlivkaCorrespondent IIIAugust 16, 2012

San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera was batting .346 with 11 HR and 60 RBI before being suspended on Wednesday.
San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera was batting .346 with 11 HR and 60 RBI before being suspended on Wednesday.Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

The timing couldn't have been anymore disastrous for the San Francisco Giants.

They entered Wednesday in a tie for first place in the NL West, and All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera was banned for 50 games after testing positive for testosterone, sending a figurative shock through AT&T Park.

The Giants also lost to the Nationals on Wednesday, helping the rival Los Angeles Dodgers take sole possession of first place in the NL West.

Not only did the Giants lose the division lead, they lost the best player on their team for the rest of the year.

Cabrera led the Giants in batting average, hits, doubles, triples and stolen bases before being busted on a positive drug test.

He was also second on the team in home runs and RBI.

Cabrera's ability to own nearly every offensive category for the Giants eased some of the pressure off their pitching staff that has been pretty solid all season long with the exception of Tim Lincecum.

With the offense taking a huge blow, it will now be up to Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain to help anchor the team into the postseason.

Easier said than done.

The Giants have been solid offensively this year and are third in the NL in batting average.

Cabrera's .346 average was third in the NL, and according to ESPN's Jayson Stark, Cabrera was on pace for 220 hits by season's end.

Replacing him will be nearly impossible.

Buster Posey has been on a tear over the last month by batting nearly .430 as the Giants see-sawed with the Dodgers for the division lead.

But despite Posey's success this season, not having Cabrera for the rest of the year puts San Francisco's postseason chances in severe jeopardy by not having their offensive MVP in the lineup.

Luckily for the Giants, there's an extra Wild Card spot that is well within reach.

Unfortunately for the Giants, they have to compete with the red-hot Atlanta Braves, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the "comeback-kid" St. Louis Cardinals for the two Wild Card spots.

The Dodgers have caught fire as of late putting together a four-game win streak, and they finally look like the Dodgers of April when they started the season 9-1.

With Matt Kemp playing at the incredible level we're accustomed to seeing and Hanley Ramirez fitting in nicely, Los Angeles has to like its chances of winning the division, especially after Cabrera's suspension.


San Francisco takes to the road for its next six games, and with a trip to Dodger Stadium beginning on Monday, L.A. has the opportunity to gain three games on the "Melky-less" Giants.

For the Giants to keep momentum on their side, they must continue to get production from Posey, Brandon Belt and Marco Scutaro.

However, there just isn't enough to replace the impact Cabrera made on the team this year.

Cabrera's abrupt end to a career-season costs his team just as much as it cost him, and he has nobody to blame but himself for it.

The fact that Cabrera tested positive for testosterone in this day and age when PEDs are so disparaged is unexplainable.

What's even more unexplainable is how San Francisco will be playing baseball in October without him in the lineup.