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Giants-Phillies 2010 NLCS: What Is Pablo Sandoval's Role In The NLCS?

As the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies figure out their rosters for the National League Championship Series, one question is arising at various Bay Area sports blogs: What should the Giants do with Pablo Sandoval?

Sandoval has had his ups and downs in 2010 and finished the season on a low note, hitting .207 in the month of September. The issue is further exacerbated by his amazing home/road splits. At home, Sandoval rolls out a line of .330/.382/.520. On the road his line is .208/.266/.299. Clearly there’s a bit of a disparity here.

McCovey Chronicles and the Bay Area Sports Guy have differing but intriguing views on Kung Fu Panda. MC feels he should start, while the Bay Area Sports Guy seems at times to be arguing against Sandoval even being on the NLCS roster:

McCovey Chronicles

We know that Fontenot is Fontenot is Fontenot, which is a good player to have on the team, but not a key component of a decent lineup. There’s a steadiness with Fontenot that you aren’t going to get with Pablo, and that does mean something. But I’m an idiot. Thrice burned, fourwice shy. I think August Pablo might come back in the next four to fourteen games. It’s a hunch based on nothing more than wishful thinking. I just can’t imagine a deep postseason run without Pablo Sandoval contributing.

Bay Area Sports Guy

Sandoval was effectively removed from the roster on Sunday, when he was replaced by Mike Fontenot for both games in Atlanta and didn’t even get an opportunity to pinch hit. Bochy’s totally done with Sandoval, and it only took 164 games! The case for keeping Sandoval is that he hit .330 last year with 25 homers and that he’s 3-for-9 lifetime against Cole Hamels and went 2-for-4 against Roy Halladay back in April, when Sandoval was hitting .365. It’s safe to say Sandoval is not that kind of hitter right now, and the Giants don’t have the luxury of trotting him out there game after game to see if he can finally snap out of whatever funk he’s in.

Sandoval was 1-for-6 in the NLDS but obviously that’s statistically insignificant. Of course, given Sandoval’s struggles leading up to the NLDS maybe it’s not quite so insignificant. The NLCS carries a very small margin for error against the Phillies dynamic pitching rotation. Speaking of the Phillies pitching, here’s Sandoval’s career numbers against the current Phillies pitchers:

vs. Cole Hamels: 3-for-9, 1 HR, 1 2B, 1 BB
vs. Roy Oswalt: 2-for-9
vs. Joe Blanton (potential game 4 starter): 0-for-6
vs. Roy Halladay: 2-for-4, 1 2B
vs. Chad Durbin: 2-for-3
vs. Jose Contreras: 0-for-1
vs. Brad Lidge: 0-for-1
vs. Ryan Madson: 0-for-0, 1 BB