SF Giants lineup: Panda gets a day, Pence hits third

Update: Sandoval was seen icing his foot. No diagnosis has been given, but at least we know how fast the internet can make you seem like a jackass. 

Pablo Sandoval is out of the lineup for the Giants, and the beat writers are speculating that an illness dubbed “the crud” may have returned. Not being a T-cell in the Panda’s Round Mound, I can’t speculate. But consider that Sandoval started 26 games in the month of May and appeared in a 27th on a double-switch. He played several of these games with the aforementioned “crud”, a testament to Panda’s love of the game  and dedication to winning. He needs a day.

With Brandon Belt playing in his 53rd game of the season, he ties Sandoval for third on the team in appearances. Once again a testament to Sandoval, but also a relief to the Belt supporters. Every extra-base hit or hit-saving dive to his right makes Belt-haters a historical oddity like the eugenics movement or Betamax. Only Pence and Crawford have seen more action that the Giants’ starting corner infielders.

Arias start in favor of Sandoval, just his eighth start of the season. Thanks to multiple injuries to the Panda in 2012, Arias racked up 344 plate appearances. The utility infielder is on pace for just 138 this season. Compounding the playing time issue is that Arias has also struggled at the plate, hitting .220/.267/.220. He hit a surprising .270/.304/.389 last season in his first big-league action since getting a cup of coffee with the Mets in 2010.

In Sandoval’s absence, Hunter Pence will hit third. The bug-eyed beauty has been other-worldly lately, going 11 for his last 24. For May as a whole, Pence has hit .330/.383/.594 with five home runs. His play is the reason the Giants lead the National League in offense.

Here’s the lineup for today vs. RHP Shelby Miller (5-2, 2.02 ERA):

CF Blanco

2B Scutaro

RF Pence

C Posey

1B Belt

LF Torres

SS Crawford

3B Arias

RHP Cain (4-2, 5.00 ERA)