I’ve been waiting months for our Crazy Horse to return. Months wanting to see his glorious hair bounce in the wind. Months longing to see him salute his teammates. Months of tapping my foot impatiently to watch him argue a perfectly reasonable strike with an umpire. Angel Pagan left a gaping hole in the Giants lineup that not only affected the offensive, but his spark plug of energy was irreplaceable.
When Angel Pagan went down in May, the Giants were in first place. Cut to 84 games later and the defending World Series champions were dwelling in the cellar. Not saying the two are directly correlated but it does seem that this team sorely missed Pagan in the leadoff spot. The Giants struggled to find a suitable replacement to leadoff trying Gregor Blanco, Andres Torres, Marco Scutaro, and even Hunter Pence.
Since Pagan went down on May 25th, the Giants batters were only hitting .252 BA, .310 OBP, .356 SLG with 27 stolen bases with 264 RBIs.
In the 49 games that Pagan played in before the injury, the Giants were .271 BA, .329 OBP, .406 SLG with 26 stolen bases and 209 RBIs.
Sure the batting statistics were only slightly higher, but the numbers that jump out at me are the stolen bases and RBI. Without Pagan’s speed and ability to get on base for the meat of the order, the Giants significantly struggled to score runs. Not really a great tactic if, you know, you’re trying to win baseball games.
Yesterday we saw that spark we’ve been sorely missing. Angel Pagan got on base immediately in the 1st inning by legging out a double. He was then driven in by Brandon Belt and scored the only and winning run in that game. Old school Giants baseball – no runs, awesome defense, SYNERGY. Or something like that.
In tonight’s game, the Giants got beat but were able to rally back and threaten… something that was few and far between in Pagan’s absence. In addition, Pagan went 1-for-4 including a walk, a stolen base, AND a dramatic shoe-top tumbling catch that he’s known for.
Small sample size and the team is no longer in contention, but I’m glad to see Pagan back and igniting this team. With him, he brought excitement, energy, and the theory that perhaps this season was a horrible anomaly and that we will be right where we left off in 2012 next season.
He also dramatically increased my GIF output which I appreciate. Without him, my inventory has been drying up. Here are some snippets:
Welcome back Crazy Horse. May you gallop free, always.