Pablo Sandoval was voted into the All-Star game as the starting third baseman for the National League. As I reported a few days back in this article I talk about the chances the Panda would have of making the All-Star team. I really didn’t expect to see Pablo overtake David Wright, who most baseball fans would tell you was most deserving of starting for the NL at third. I really wanted to see Pablo make the team as I felt he was definitely deserving and the closer he finished behind Wright the better his chances would be. Pablo was 2nd in the NL in OPS+ at the time, you must account for his popularity (appears to be a perennial All-Star for years to come) and based on where he would have been statistically had he not missed time to injury is why I pushed for fans to vote for him. To overtake Wright, who lead Pablo by as many as 460,000+ votes as per the last voting update, is having an MVP type year with a .355 BA and a 1.013 OPS and is in a major market is as the title of this articles states, quite miraculous. Read this article by Adam Martini a freelance writer and contributor to Yahoo Sports who gives you a New York perspective on what happened.
To me the image above was appropriate for the All “Star” Game because it depicts how Giants fans totally outvoted Mets fans with orange and blue obviously representing the two team respectively. I am no Astronomer but it is obvious which one shined brighter in the final days.
This shows how much San Francisco Giants fans care about their team because this all about who gets the most votes and not based purely on who is having the best season. Besides the push for the Panda, the fans got Melky Cabrera voted in as a starter in the outfield for his first All-Star game and made Buster Posey the starting catcher and the highest vote getter in history for any player at any position ever in his first trip to the midsummer classic. Starter Matt Cain was also selected by National League All-Star manager Tony LaRussa. Arguments could be made for several other pitchers on the Giants such as Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo to make the team but were not selected. I truly wonder whether LaRussa would have selected Pablo as a reserve had he finished in 2nd and whether the fans selection of him as a starter changed LaRussa’s mind at all about what other Giants he might select.
As for the Giants and their four All-Stars they went on to beat the Cincinnati Reds today 4 – 3 to split the four game series. After the Giants blew a 3- 2 lead in the top of the 9th they were lucky to hold the Reds to just one by having Santiago Casilla work out of a bases loaded jam with no outs. In the bottom of the 9th Buster doubled with two outs making the Reds intentionally walk Pablo to face Angel Pagan. Angel drove the 5th pitch he saw from Reds reliever Jose Arredondo in the air to right field. As right fielder Jay Bruce slowly backed up to get under the ball with room to spare before the wall, he jumped at the last second for the ball putting his throwing arm out as if to brace himself to make contact against the wall. The ball sailed over his glove and Pagan was generously awarded a double on what was a poorly fielded ball and Posey scored to win the game for the Giants.
Pablo went 0 – 4 on the day with one intentional walk, grounded into a double play and left five on base after manager Bruce Bochy moved him up to hit 5th in the batting order. Pablo seemed to be impatient at the plate seeing only eleven pitches in the four plate appearances before the intentional walk. This has dropped Pablo to an even .300 BA and it will be interesting to see where Bochy inserts him into the order in the 6 games before the break.
The Giants will have a travel day tomorrow as they head to Washington D.C. for three games to play the Nationals starting Tuesday. With Wednesday being the 4th of July and the game being in the nations capitol the game will be played at 8:05 AM PST so buy your coffee now in preparation. The Giants will then play three games against the Pittsburgh Pirates on the road before the All-Star break. I will have a “Panda Watch” tomorrow to talk about what to expect against the Nationals starters in the upcoming series.
by Raul Rekow Jr