Melky Cabrera’s suspension was a huge blow to everyone in the San Francisco Giants organization. With one press release, the Giants lost a huge bat and presence in the lineup.
Still, one player does not make or break a team and when a player is lost, others must step up. Even with the loss of Cabrera, the Giants hit their biggest NL West lead of the season last night.
Last night, San Francisco extended their division lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers to 3.5 games. This is largely attributed to several players getting hot and coming through in clutch situations.
These are some of the main guys who have helped the San Francisco Giants stay at the top of their division without Melky Cabrera.
For a while, it seemed like the only offensive chance the San Francisco Giants had was if either Melky Cabrera or Buster Posey was at the plate.
Now that Cabrera is out, other players have stepped up and Posey has stayed consistent. He’s hit safely in eight of his last 10 games and continues to lead the team in home runs (19), RBI (80) and a OBP (.403).
He remains a threat at the plate and a leader in the clubhouse.
Angel Pagan tends to be a streaky player, and chose the right time to get hot again.
In the last seven days, Pagan has been hitting .375 with three doubles, a triple and a home run.
He’s has established his role at leadoff and in center field. His success has been a great help for the Giants, but more importantly, he has been a much-needed catalyst for San Francisco.
Brandon Belt is another player who has been hot lately. He’s been striking out less and getting on base more, coming through in important situations.
Belt is a talented first baseman fielding-wise, and his bat has been improving. He is hitting .356/.427/.479 in August and seems to have much more confidence at the plate.
Joaquin Arias may be the most unexpected name on this list, but he has been on fire in his past few games. He knocked in a career high five runs in the final game of the San Francisco Giants’ sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.
His pinch hit double last night tied the game and he then scored the winning run after Hector Sanchez knocked him in. Arias’ success is a huge addition for San Francisco, offsetting Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence’s lack of production at the plate.
He extends the lineup and creates a threat late in the order.
Matt Cain has been quite consistent all season, but had a short stretch where he wasn’t as dominant as usual.
In the three games he has pitched since Melky Cabrera’s suspension, Cain has gone at least seven innings, allowing no more than two runs in each start with three walks and 16 strikeouts. He received a no-decision in last night’s game, allowing only two runs in 7.1 innings.
Cain’s dominance on the mound gives the Giants a chance to win without having to score much, although the offense has scored at least eight runs in three of his last four starts.
Ally Williams is a MLB Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow her on Twitter to get in contact.