After taking care of business on the road against the New York Mets, the San Francisco Giants set their sights on a big time series in opposition of the NL Central leading-Milwaukee Brewers. The Giants remain in striking distance of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West and can make up some serious ground this week upon the return of leadoff hitter Angel Pagan.
According to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News, Pagan could be activated before Tuesday’s game after missing nearly two months with a bulging disc in his lower back. Pagan is a spark-plug for the Giants at the top of the lineup, greatly enhancing their ability to score runs. The Giants have been mostly lost during Pagan’s prolonged absence, tumbling out of first place while struggling to play high-quality baseball at times.
Pagan has slashed an effective .307/.356/.411 batting line with three home runs, 19 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 262 plate appearances this season. The Giants are simply a much better team when Pagan is in the lineup. They completely fell out of contention last season upon Pagan succumbing to a hamstring injury that eventually required surgery and relinquished a 9.5-game division lead in a span of five weeks this season.
Pagan is the guy who makes the Giants go. They’ve managed to stay afloat despite Pagan missing nearly 50 games and now appear primed for a strong push toward the finish line in the 2014 MLB season. As Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow noted in an interview on KNBR, the club’s flagship station, after the trade deadline, the return of first baseman Brandon Belt and Pagan makes it feel like the team’s front office made a deal to bolster the roster.
San Francisco’s glaring lack of bench depth was a problem from the onset of Spring Training. They don’t have enough legitimate big league talent to excel in the a science of multiple key contributors, especially Pagan. The “Crazy Horse” makes the Giants one of the best teams in the National League. Their sensational 2012 title run in which they avoided elimination six times in the playoffs is evidence of that.
San Francisco is gearing up for a resurgence in 2014, just as long as Pagan’s return to the everyday lineup is permanent rather than temporary. He is the key to their success.