It’s not as though Melky Cabrera goes about his business on the baseball field all by himself because he has support in All-Star catcher Buster Posey, infielder Pablo Sandoval, who is currently on the disabled list, and just acquired outfielder Hunter Pence.
Still it would be tough to envision San Francisco (59-49) being in first place a half game in front of the Dodgers in the National League West without his presence.
The Giants swept the host Colorado Rockies this past weekend, and Cabrera was in the middle of the action.
In Sunday’s 8-3 triumph, the left fielder from the Dominican Republic, who is batting a NL second-best .352, scored three runs, had two hits that included a triple, while in Saturday’s 11-6 mashing, swatted a two-run homer with three runs scored, and in Friday’s 16-4 rout, doubled and scored two runs with two runs batted in.
Oddly, Cabrera has been with four teams since 2005 when he broke in with the New York Yankees, having toiled for the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals and Giants.
This is Cabrera’s first season by the Bay, and has already endeared himself to the large throngs atAT&TPark.
When Cabrera walks into the batter’s box, fans are dressed in old-fashioned white milkman uniforms, and they salute him.
Based on the numbers, this season and 2011 have been Cabrera’s most productive, and it’s fortunate forSan Francisco, which doesn’t have a potent offense.
It’s rare when the Giants score many runs in an inning, so they have to bunch hits together, and that’s where Cabrera enters the picture.
So far, he has 10 triples, second in the NL, with 22 doubles, and has reached 26 two-base hits four times, with a best of 44 last season.
Cabrera was selected to his first All-Star squad, and the game was played inKansas City.
During player introductions, Cabrera received an extra-friendly ovation after wearing the Royals’ uniform.
In three at-bats, Cabrera singled, homered with two RBIs and two runs scored, and was named the Most Valuable Player.
There was a funny scene after Cabrera hit the blast. When he neared second baseman Robinson Cano, a one-time teammate with the Yankees, he smiled and playfully tried to touch Cano’s glove, but he played it off real cool.
The Giants’ home run numbers are modest, with Posey leading the way with 16 and 69 RBIs, followed by Cabrera, who has 11 homers and 56 RBIs, and they’ve lifted pitchers Matt Cain (10-4 and 2.82 earned-run average), Ryan Vogelsong (9-5 and 2.38), Barry Zito (8-8 and 4.27), Madison Bumgarner (12-6 and 3.03), and struggling two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum (6-11 and 5.43), find their groove.
Cabrera’s a valuable piece because of his penchant for making contact as he paces the majors in hits with 149, while finishing fourth in the American League with 201 in 2011, which is a personal best.
Sturdy could also describe Cabrera, who has been in at least 130 games five times, including a season-high 155 in 2011 when he scored 102 runs.
It appears the Dodgers and Giants will be at each other’s heels, which will make the milk man happy.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.