All droughts eventually come to an end.
For California, that end will probably come with this year's expected little boy, El Niño. For the Giants, it ended last night in the Rocky Mountains. In the eight games prior to Wednesday night, our San Francisco Giants mustered a grand total of a 15 runs scored (1.875 runs per game!), winning three and losing five in that stretch. Contrast that with how the Giants started the season when they seemingly scored at will, and well, it seems balance has been restored. But last night, it started to rain home runs — six, to be exact, including a glorious 11th inning Hector Sanchez grand salami.
Side note: Last year, the Giants went into extra innings 18 times, or once every nine games. It's four times in 21 games this year. Let's hope it's just a small sample size aberration.
Let's talk about Panda. San Francisco loves Pablo Sandoval. From the moment he came up, he was a hit with fans. He had a silly routine at the plate; he always had a smile on his face; and he embraced his nickname and persona, Kung Fu Panda. He fit in perfectly with the young, fresh faces of the post-Barry Bonds era. above all else, he played well. In the five and a quarter seasons since being brought up to the big leagues, he's been a two-time All-Star, started on the two World Series winning teams, and proved a reliable source of both hits for power and average. We've all seen the grown folk with panda hats on their heads — it takes a special player to make adults willingly look so silly.
He's also in the last year of his contract with the Giants. Both the team and Panda have worked in the off-season to get a new contract signed; however, the Giants wanted a 3-year, $40 million deal and Panda wanted a deal similar to the one Hunter Pence signed: 5-years, $90 million. Talks ended. And as it now stands, Sandoval is a Giant this year, but who knows what he'll be next year. This season will basically be as his resume for his next employer, Giants or otherwise.
Speaking of that resume, his.165 batting average is hard to ignore. It's staring you right in the face each time he comes to bat with a possible run on the bags. Those rally ending double-plays stand out when you're the guy that wants $90 mil and you're the guy that isn't feasting at the occasional offensive smorgasbord. Also: fielding errors. He's committed them.
To be fair, it's early in the season and he's not the only Giants player lacking offense. But expect this to be a continuing theme throughout the season. His play will be picked apart not only by the Giants front office, but also by every other team who can afford to be in the market for a very expensive third baseman. Who knows how much pressure he's putting on himself or how that pressure will grow as the season progresses, but it's hard to believe that it has not been a factor in his recent play. Of course we hope he turns it around and plays up to his previously established ability. The Giants, for their part, have shown that they are more than willing to give generous deals to their players. And for us fans, picturing Panda in Yankee pinstripes is horrifying (and make no mistake, they will come calling).
Mon: at Colorado (lost)
Tue: at Colorado (lost)
Wed: at Colorado (WON!)
Fri: home against the Cleveland Indians (Golf Night. Rating: not hot)(Duane Kuiper bobblehead. Rating: absolute MUST have)
Sat: home against the Cleveland Indians (1954 replica World Series ring giveaway. Rating: yeah, not bad)
Sun: home agains the Cleveland Indians (Pablo Sandoval kids bat giveaway. Rating: kids with bats — I would not go to this game)