by Nathan Mendelowitz
Injuries are a part of any season when it comes to baseball. A long, arduous season is full of muscle pulls, oblique strains and the all too common groin strain – it’s just what happens during the five plus month season of baseball.
Unfortunately for the San Francisco Giants, many key players are coming down with injuries all at the same time.
Sports Illustrated (AP)
The first key player to bite the dust was the Giants lead-off man Angel Pagan. Pagan has been nursing a nagging hamstring injury that’s been bothering him for most of the season. He missed a few games earlier in the season but re-aggravated it against the Rockies. Pagan hasn’t played since May 25.
Angel wasn’t having a great season but he is an important cog in the Giants machine. Pagan was batting .262 with 24 RBIs and 30 runs. Before getting put on the disabled list Pagan was finally starting to get his swing back and be the lead-off man he was last season.
Batting isn’t the only thing the Giants are losing with Pagan injured. They lose a strong leader and someone who kept the team motivated. Since getting hurt, the Giants are 7 – 9 and in seven of those losses, they were beaten by four or more runs. The Giants have also only scored more than two runs in three of those games, one of the three a loss.
Ryan Vogelsong also has the misfortune to make his way to the disabled list and for him, and the Giants, it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
There’s no getting around the fact Vogelsong has been having a rough season. Going into his game May 20 against the Washington Nationals, he was 1 – 4 with an ERA over eight. But everything was going his way that night. Through five innings he gave up only three hits and one walk and the Giants were leading big.
However, the sixth inning came and while at bat, he swung at an inside pitch and the ball tagged him on the pitching hand, fracturing it. Right when things were looking up and the old Vogelsong from the past two seasons was coming back, it all came crashing down.
For a starting pitching staff that’s been struggling all year, losing an on-the-right-track Vogelsong was a stinging blow. It was like a gut punch in the 10th round of a prize fight and your fighter was winning.
Pablo Sandoval is also a part of the unlucky as he is out with a hair-line fracture in his left foot. The Kung Fu Panda was hitting .289 and slugging .427 with eight homers and 37 RBIs.
There’s no denying Sandoval is one of the Giants biggest offensive producers, and for a team that doesn’t have many, losing Sandoval has seriously hampered the offense. In the three games Sandoval has missed on the DL before last night’s game, the Giants had been outscored by 14 runs.
For the Giants, the news keeps getting worse. There leading hitter Marco Scutaro now looks like he’ll be out for a while with a “mallet” pinky after getting hit by a pitch. Losing Scutaro could end up being the biggest blow.
Scutaro is batting .332 and slugging .444 with 20 extra-base hits. If the Giants lose him for too many games, there really is no one who can replace him. Joaquin Arias already has to fill in for Sandoval and the Giants will now have to rely on Nick Noonan to play second. While both these players have done a decent job filling in, they both can not match the numbers put up by Sandoval and Scutaro.
For the Giants sake, the best case scenario is Arias and Noonan do enough to fill in and keep the Giants afloat so everyone can return from injury. Arias has shown he can do enough to be in the lineup, but Noonan is the true rookie and after getting some good hits earlier in the season, it’s been a struggle since.
In Noonan’s first 15 games, he batted .333, however, since then, he’s batting is down to .197 and has only recorded one RBI.
It’ll be a tough month of June for the Giants, but they have shown themselves to be a resilient team, and now more than ever do they need to prove that again.