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Pablo Sandoval’s second stint with the San Francisco Giants can’t end soon enough. Even when he does something good, he still manages to hurt the team.
That’s exactly what happened in Sunday’s regular season finale. Sandoval hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to end the team’s miserable regular season on a high note. The Giants beat the San Diego Padres 5-4. Only, no one was happy.
With his walk-off shot, Sandoval actually cost the Giants the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft.
The Giants' worst season in recent history ends with a walk-off home run from Pablo Sandoval.
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) October 1, 2017
With the Giants’ win, the Detroit Tigers will pick first overall.
It’s just an incredible turn of events for Sandoval considering how the season has gone. After being let go by the Boston Red Sox, Sandoval returned to the Giants on a minor-league deal hoping to rekindle his former magic.
His return was a disaster. Sandoval hit just .220/.265/.367 over 279 plate appearances on the year. At one point, he was mired in one of the longest hitless streaks in recent Giants history. That was a far cry from his first seven years with the club, in which he hit .294/.346/.465.
Given his struggles in 2017, Sandoval’s status is up in the air for 2018. He’s only 31, but has hit under .240 over the past two seasons, and isn’t known for his conditioning.
If there’s a silver lining here, the team will still pick second. And this is the baseball draft … few players are sure-fire No. 1 overall picks. Unless your name is Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg, there’s usually debate about who should go No. 1. The Giants should be just fine at No. 2. They’ll get a talented player.
If this is it for Sandoval with the Giants, it’s one heck of a way to go out. In some ways, it’s a great moment to see a former star dramatically lift his club to a win in what was likely his final at-bat with the franchise. On the other hand, Sandoval’s home run perfectly encapsulated both his, and the Giants’, struggles all season.
Can we just say Sandoval’s home run was fitting in a number of ways? Yeah, that sounds right.
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