It’s true. Eugenio Velez is the best player in the universe. Don’t debate it, because you can’t. It’s a cold, hard, scientific fact. The Giants topped the Phillies last night 7-2 with two strong performances from Eugenio Velez and Pablo Sandoval.
Velez went 3-5 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI’s. He hit a bases-loaded single in the 4th inning that really tilted the game towards the Giants. By WPA, he was the best player of the game with a a team leading .215. Don’t look now, but with Andres Torres injuring his left hamstring and Aaron Rowand still hurting, the Giants probably have two guys they’ll play in CF right now. Randy Winn and Eugenio Velez. According to Velez’s Minor League Splits player page, he played 44 games in 2007 for the Connecticut Defenders. In 2008, Velez mostly played LF and 2B for the Fresno Grizzlies. Velez has blazing speed, but poor defensive instincts. If he gets any significant amount of playing time in CF, things could get interesting. He’ll remain in the lineup as long as he’s hot. Just cover your eyes when balls are hit at him.
The other hero of the contest was none other than Pablo Sandoval. On the night that honored Willie McCovey’s 50th anniversary of his major league debut, Sandoval hit a bomb into McCovey Cove. In the 4th, Sandoval just missed his 2nd HR of the game when he stroked an opposite field double off the wall in LF. Sandoval’s WAR currently stands at 3.4 wins. He’s rated as the 4th best 3B in baseball at the moment by total value. Only Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman, and Chone Figgins rate higher.
The Giants will face a much tougher test in tonight’s game. Beating up on Rodrigo Lopez is one thing, but tonight they’ll take on Cliff Lee as he makes his first start in the National League. Starting for the Giants is Ryan Sadowski. I’m not sure a pitching matchup could get more lop-sided. Sadowski’s stuff is minimal and if his last few starts are any indication, his magic pixie dust may have run out.
His last two starts (selective endpoints, yay!) aren’t pretty. Combined he’s gone: 6.1 IP, 13 H, 11 ER, 6 BB, 4 SO, 15.63 ERA. As you know, the Phillies are a monster team on offense. Their team wOBA of .345 is 4th in the majors — the three teams ahead of them are all AL teams. The idea of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jason Werth taking hacks off Sadowski for an evening in SF doesn’t comfort me.
A quick side-note: I recently did a Q&A with Bill Baer of the Phillies blog, Crashburn Alley. You won’t find a better Phils blog on the ‘net and I suggest moseying over to check out what they’re saying about the Giants this series.
Now, if I can just convince them to trade us Chase Utley for Brian Bocock..