Pablo Sandoval moves into the number-three spot in the batting order following Melky Cabrera's suspension.
True story: on Wednesday morning, I wrote a post (actually, this post, technically, even if it never existed ... or something) about how the Giants finally fielded a lineup that could make Brian Sabean, Bruce Bochy and the team's fans proud.
After all, it had been fun over the past, oh, half-decade or so to mock the Giants for their inability to hit. Ever since Barry Bonds departed, there hasn't been a lot of offense by the Bay. Or, at least, a truly formidable lineup anyway, right?
That finally changed Tuesday night when the Giants trotted out a "heart" of the order that featured Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt. That's legitimate meat from the No. 3 spot to the No. 7 spot. (I used quotations around "heart" because you'd think the best hitters would be in the No. 2 through No. 6 spot, but whatever.)
The development of three guys -- Belt, Sandoval and Buster -- and savvy trades for another two -- Melky, Pence -- finally culminated in a lineup that wasn't just "not totally embarrassing" but "almost brag-worthy."
And then, a few minutes before my boss was set to publish the post, Melky Cabrera got pegged with a 50-game suspension. He's done for the regular season and that means the only time the Giants will play with that lineup was Tuesday night. It was a fleeting glimpse of something great (even if it was a facade, since Melky wasn't exactly working on a level playing field) and it won't be seen again, maybe ever.
So what happens now? Well, on Wednesday Gregor Blanco took over for Cabrera in left field and will do so for the foreseeable future. Blacno is not as good as Melky, in case you were curious. And that's why Sandoval hits third in the new lineup with Blanco moving to seventh. So now we've got:
1. Angel Pagan - CF
2. Ryan Theriot/Joaquin Arias - 2B
3. Pablo Sandoval - 3B
4. Buster Posey - C
5. Hunter Pence - RF
6. Brandon Belt - 1B
7. Gregor Blanco - LF
8. Brandon Crawford - SS
The good news is that lineup falls somewhere in between "I'm not totally embarrassed to be seen with this lineup!" and "I'm going to tell my friends how great this lineup is!" You'll go with it, but you won't love it. It's not the same, obviously.
If Belt keeps hitting like he has and Pence starts to rake like he can and Panda stays healthy and Buster remains an MVP candidate, it's a dangerous lineup. Blanco getting early-season hot would be gravy.
It's not the 1927 Yankees or anything, but no one was going to mistake the Giants for Murderers' Row in the first place. The closest the Giants were coming to that was Tuesday night and it was but for a fleeting moment.