Five good reasons San Francisco Giants can win without Melky Cabrera: No. 2, Panda is back

Two days before losing Cabrera for the rest of the season, the Giants got Pablo Sandoval off the disabled list.

The Giants won’t have Cabrera for the last 45 games of the regular season. They’ve already played 53 games with Sandoval on the DL and survived just fine, going 29-24 over those 53 games.

Now, we are not suggesting that the Giants can simply replace Cabrera with Sandoval. Not by a longshot.

But the Giants are a stronger team in August than they were in May, when Sandoval started his 35-game stint on the DL with a broken hammate bone.

Another way to think of it: the Giants have six contant players in their lineups in May as they do now: Angel Pagan, Gregor Blanco, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Ryan Theriot and Buster Posey.

So which lineup is stronger: One that includes Melky Cabrera and Joaquin Arias, or one that includes Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence?

Now some sabermetrics would still argue for the former. But there are other factors at play.

Buster Posey is red hot now. Brandon Belt is producing more like the Giants hoped he would. Brandon Crawford is hitting better. And the Giants have Marco Scutaro as a second base alternative to Theriot.

So having Sandoval back with a better-producing lineup around him should help soften the loss of Cabrera and keep the Giants competitive.

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