Giants replacing Cabrera's production

August, 26, 2012
8/26/12
2:28
PM ET

Jason O. Watson/Getty ImagesThe Giants offense hasn't missed a beat since Melky Cabrera was suspended on August 15.
A week-and-a-half into Melky Cabrera's 50-game suspension, the San Francisco Giants have proven that they're more than capable of producing runs even with their top hitter out of the lineup.

When the Giants face the Atlanta Braves tonight at 8 ET on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN, they'll bring an offense that ranks third in the National League in runs per game and fourth in batting average in the 10 games since Cabrera was suspended.

Much of the credit for the Giants improved production at the plate (they are scoring more runs per game and have a higher batting average since Cabrera's suspension than before it) belongs to leadoff hitter Angel Pagan, who leads the NL with a .409 average since August 15, the day Cabrera was suspended.

Pagan, hitting .280 before Cabrera's suspension, has feasted on changeups in his last 10 games, going 6-10 with three doubles. His six hits against changeups lead the majors in that span.

Joaquin Arias and Gregor Blanco also deserve recognition for their performance at the plate with Cabrera out. Since August 15, Arias is 10-22 and has raised his average by 18 points (.262 to .280). Blanco has been similarly impressive, hitting .346 (9-26) since August 15 after batting .232 before the suspension.

Their hot bats have allowed the Giants to win 7 of 10 games since Cabrera's suspension and actually increase their lead atop the NL West. San Francisco, tied for first in the division with the Los Angeles Dodgers when Cabrera's suspension was announced, entered Sunday two games clear of all division rivals.

Things are even looking up for Melky Cabrera, who pulled ahead of Andrew McCutchen in the MLB batting race after McCutchen went 0-4 Saturday. Cabrera, who is suspended for the rest of the regular season, has 501 plate appearances in 2012, one shy of the amount necessary to qualify for the batting title.

However, MLB rules could still allow him to win the batting crown.

For batting title purposes, Cabrera will finish the season with a .3457 average, which is what his average would be if the necessary number of plate appearances were added to his total to get to the qualifying number (502).

Should no other hitter finish with an average higher than .3457, Cabrera would win his first batting crown.

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