[caption id="attachment_5865" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Melky Cabrera 2012 AP[/caption]

When the San Francisco Giants made the playoffs this year for the second time in three years, there was one major question:  Should Melky Cabrera be activated at some point? There were two schools of thought: the business side, which leaned toward activating him; and the emotional fan side, which was against activating him.

If Cabrera was activated, there was no doubt he would help the Giants offensively. Cabrera’s .346 average would have won him the batting title (he disqualified himself) and helped the Giants greatly in the postseason.

Granted, if Cabrera had not gotten suspended, the Giants might not have gone after Hunter Pence. Still, a lineup going Cabrera-Posey- Sandoval in the three-four-five holes would be dangerous. And, if Pence was added, the offense would be even more potent.

If the emotions and distractions of players and fans were not considered, the Giants would have activated Cabrera immediately. But, with all of the drama surrounding Cabrera’s suspension and him likely lying to many of his teammates, bringing him back might not have been the best decision.

Cabrera would definitely draw an abundance of unwanted media attention into the clubhouse and would undoubtedly cause a distraction. Giants’ fans were also mixed. Some wanted him back while some wanted him run out of town. Although not as important, Cabrera’s return could anger some fans, giving the usually electric AT&T Park a different atmosphere.

The Giants were nearly eliminated in the NLDS. In the first two games, they scored only two runs at home against the Reds and lost both games. They were obviously in need of hitting. In the third game in Cincinnati, the Giants barely pulled out the win in extra innings by scoring on an error to bring the series to 2-1.

In the fourth and fifth games, the Giants’ offense turned it on, outscoring the Reds 14-7 in the two games. This comeback was remarkable for the Giants, but they might not have had to make this comeback with Melky Cabrera.

Although Hunter Pence contributed to the team with his inspirational speeches, he has struggled mightily in the batters’ box. If it was Cabrera instead of Pence near the end of the series, the Giants might have cashed in more rather than leaving runners on base.

Tuesday night’s game was a perfect time for Cabrera to be of help. Through seven innings, the Giants stranded 11 runners on base. Eleven. There would have been no guarantee of Cabrera coming up and getting a hit in every situation, but there is a high likelihood that the number in the LOB column would have been much less than 11.

Cabrera would be even more useful at home, where most of the Giants’ offensive woes have occurred (leaving out game two of the NLCS in which the Giants won 7-1). Cabrera’s gap-to-gap hitting ability is tailor-made for the spacious outfield of AT&T Park. This year, Cabrera had ten triples—the most he has hit since 2007 with the Yankees.

Things got from bad to the worse for the Giants Thursday night. A 3-1 loss to the Cardinals in St. Louis, a game affected by a long rain delay. In that game, the Giants managed 9 hits…and left 17 runners on base. The Cardinals in contrast only had 6 hits and left 9 runners on base. Sometimes you need skill…and other times you need luck.

With Carlos Beltran out of the game with a knee injury, Matt Carpenter picked up the slack in the 3rd inning with a 2-run homer that proved to be the game winning hit. In a game like that one, the Giants could have used some of the early season Melk Man magic.

Now the Giants are down 2 games to 1 in the series, with a chance of elimination. Would Melky have made a difference thus far in the NLCS? Giants fans are starting to ask themselves that same question over and over again.

Melky Cabrera would most likely not have kept up his ridiculous .346 average in the postseason, but I think he would hit at least .320. Testosterone, in my opinion, has no effect on his average. Cabrera had only hit 11 home runs by the time of his suspension, so power was not a huge part of his game.

All the Giants would have needed him to do in the playoffs was to get on base and let Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval do the rest. As of late, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro have done a good job of setting the table, so a base-hit with runners on would have been more than enough of a contribution by Cabrera.

Although the Giants have stuck with their policy of refusing to bring Cabrera back, the team still has a legitimate shot of going to the World Series. If the Giants win game four, talks of bringing Cabrera back may heat up again in the Bay. It might not be a bad idea.


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