Pablo Sandoval’s return to the San Francisco Giants hasn’t gone as well as planned. The 31-year-old hasn’t performed well in his second go-around with the club, hitting just .204 in 100 plate appearances prior to Monday’s game. Somehow, things got worse.
In the top of the seventh inning, Sandoval grounded out to Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story to end the inning. On the surface, that doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. But look at the last few games, and you’ll realize Sandoval is in the middle of an awful slump.
With that out, Sandoval was in the midst of an 0-for-32 slump. That’s the worst stretch for any Giants player since the ’80s.
Now Pablo Sandoval grounds out to make it an 0-for-32. Longest hitless streak by a Giant since Johnnie LeMaster (37) in 1984. #KungBooPanda
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) September 4, 2017
Sandoval had a chance to break that streak in the ninth inning. He grounded out to the pitcher to extend the streak to 0-for-33.
Prior to being released by the Boston Red Sox, Sandoval was hitting .212/.269/.354 over 108 plate appearances. With the Giants, he’s somehow been worse. Following his first three at-bats Monday, Sandoval’s line with San Francisco dropped to .196/.250/.277 in 103 plate appearances. Every aspect of his slash line has been worse.
And that probably doesn’t matter. At 54-85, the Giants are going nowhere fast. At this point, they should just keep losing games to get a higher draft pick. Sandoval is clearly diminished as a player, but he at least has some sentimental value to the fans.
We’re not sure how many people are going to the ballpark in 2017 specifically to watch Sandoval play, but it’s not like he’s actively hurting the club. They are going to post an awful record with or without him. Maybe a few fans get nostalgic to see a former favorite who helped them win a few World Series championships. He’s on a minor-league deal, so San Francisco isn’t paying him much to take the field. Let’s not talk about how much the Red Sox paid him this season. (OK, fine, it’s $17.6 million.)
There’s no guarantee Sandoval will be back with the team next year, so this may be the last opportunity for fans to see him in a Giants uniform.
Maybe that’s hard to believe considering the Giants batted him fifth Monday, but that move says far more about the team’s struggles than Sandoval’s ability these days.
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