The San Francisco Giants have been off to a blazing hot start this season, already putting 47 runs on the board over eight games. Their offense ranks at the top of the league in runs, home runs, and runs batted in, and they rank up there in plenty other categories as well.
Brandon Belt has done plenty to make headlines this season, but also at the helm of San Francisco’s offensive attack is a healthy Angel Pagan, who has returned to the lineup with a vengeance.
“Last year we went through a roller coaster year, with a lot more down than up…this year, having 95% of the team healthy, everybody feels good, and we’ll go out there and play hard,” he said.
San Francisco was plagued with injuries last season, and the Giants’ center fielder missed most of last season with a hamstring tear. He acknowledged the gaping hole in the lineup that resulted from the loss of his presence at the plate.
He mentioned, “I think last year when I got hurt, I didn’t know how important I was to this team. My teammates told me, got me full of motivation this offseason, got me ready for this moment. This might be my best start to a year, so I’m enjoying it.”
The motivation has worked well several others in the Giants lineup, with four different players adding RBI to their stat total. Belt knocked out his fifth home run of the season and Michael Morse improved his average to .391 with his sixth and seventh runs batted in this season. Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford also added to the lead on Tuesday afternoon.
Pagan has been the spark of the lineup, reaching base safely in all eight games this season. He’s fit back into his spot at the top of the lineup nicely, sparking rallies and knocking in runs when possible.
“You mature as a hitter,” he said. “You never stop learning. I always thought there was something missing in my approach and I think this year I’ve been more patient and drawing some walks, not falling into the pitcher’s traps and letting him come to me.”
Pagan has been able to get on base, both while leading off the inning and in the middle of the game. Even as a leadoff hitter, he still ranks in the top ten in the league when it comes to RBI. He noted that he’s been able to center himself and continue to find his niche with the team.
“You have to stay within yourself, and to know your role. My role is to get on base and make things happen. You can create a lot of situations, like what happened to Brandon [Belt]: he had a good fastball and he hit it out of the park. That’s the type of things that he can make happen when I get on base, and that’s why I take a lot of pride in my at-bats right now, and especially this year. I just go out there and do anything I can to get on base.”
He, like many of the other members of this San Francisco Giants team, are looking forward to a strong year, and don’t expect the offensive threat to slow down. Pagan said he was certainly not surprised at how well his team has done at the plate so far.
“We worked hard spring training for this…everyone’s doing their part. For most of us, [last season] was a learning experience. It’s how you get up from that, and that’s what we did. We went to the offseason thinking about fresh starts.”