The San Francisco Giants won their second NL West title in three years besting the San Diego Padres 8-4. It is the Giants sixth straight win and tenth win in their past eleven games.
The Giants managed to win the NL West despite the early season struggles of Tim Lincecum, the absence of closer Brian Wilson due to Tommy John surgery and the suspension of Melky Cabrera last month for PEDs.
I must admit I wasn’t optimistic about the Giants post-season prospects following Cabrera’s suspension but they actually played better without him in the lineup. The Giants are 25-10 since Cabrera’s suspension was announced on August 15th. On that date, the Giants and Dodgers were tied for first in the NL West. Today, the Giants won the division by 11 games over L.A. So much for adding a quarter of a billion to their payroll (though they still have a chance for a NL Wild Card berth).
A note about Cabrera. He will not win the 2012 NL batting title. Although Cabrera was two plate apperances short of winning the title, he would have been credited with two phantom plate appearances in which he would have gone 0 for 2. That still left Cabrera with a league leading .346 batting average. After the MLB Commissioner’s Office indicated they would not intervene, Cabrera made a formal request that he be made ineligible to win the title. MLB and the MLBPA agreed to make an amendment to the collective agreement to allow this to happen. So now the NL batting race is between Pittsburgh Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutcheon who has a three point lead on Cabrera’s teammate Buster Posey (.336 to .333).
Cabrera is eligible to return from his suspension after five post-season games (assuming the Giants make it beyond the NLDS). I doubt this will happen despite Cabrera’s gesture.
But I do think Posey will likely win the NL MVP. The Giants were a mess after he broke his leg last season. Despite being 25, Posey is the undisputed leader of that team and given the roll their on could lead to their second World Series title in three seasons.