Lead: 4.5 games
Magic number: 24
When the Giants signed Xavier Nady to a minor-league deal early last month, no one was really sure what they were getting from the oft-injured veteran outfielder.
After two games, the Giants are getting quite a bit.
Nady went 2 for 2 with a double and two walks. He scored two runs, and it was his ninth-inning walk that sparked a two-run rally in the ninth, leading the Giants to a win.
The victory gave the Giants a 5-1 road trip. Given they were playing the two worst teams in the NL, it was a good results. But only slightly more than expected.
In two games with the Giants, Nady is 3 for 5 with two doubles, two runs, two walks and three RBI.
In fact, the Giants scored three runs in the third, two in the sixth and two in the ninth. All three of those rallies were ignited by Nady: a single in the third, double in the sixth and walk in the ninth.
On Monday, the Salinas native will play in his first game as a Giant in AT&T Park. Over his career as a visiting player, Nady has hit .299 with 1 HR and 6 RBI in 77 at-bats at AT&T Park.
And the change of scenery won’t be the only change. Nady, who has worn No. 68 in his first two games with the Giants, will wear No. 12 on Monday, Nate Schierholtz’s old number.
With the success he’s been having so far, why would Nady want to change anything?
“Hopefully, it’s not the jersey that affects you,” Nady said.
Probably not, but why risk it?
MoreSplashHits had two thoughts when watching Saturday’s win over the Cubs (and others may have had the same thoughts).
“I wonder if, somehow, Xavier Nady may be the second coming of Pat Burrell (circa 2010)?”
“And if that’s true, why the hell didn’t the Giants bring up Nady in August to make him eligible for the postseason?”
The answer to the first question has yet to be revealed. The answer to the second question is that the Giants know the rules better than MoreSplashHits.
Nady made his Giants debut Saturday wearing No. 68, which of course was worn by other Giants greats like John Ayers. (No, wait a minute, that’s not right. I’m thinking about the 49ers).
Nady made a splash in his first at-bat Saturday, by raking a bases-clearing, three-run double down the third base line in the first inning.
When Nady came to the plate in the first inning, the Giants were just 1 for 45 with the bases loaded and two outs this season. Yikes! I just had a 2011 offensive flashback there.
To make matters worse, the Giants has fanned 21 times in 53 plate appearances this season with two out and the bases loaded. They have also drawn five walks in those situations and have been hit by a pitch once (on Saturday by Hector Sanchez, right before Nady’s hit).
So it was certainly an instant impact. Manager Bruce Bochy was impressed enough with that he’s putting Nady back in the lineup Sunday against the Cubs and Monday against the Diamondbacks.
So can Nady pull off a repeat of the Burrell performance in 2010? Well, Nady was hitting .157 with three home runs and six RBI in 40 games with the Washington Nationals when he was released on July 29. Nady spent a month on the disabled list with a wrist injury before being waived by Washington. He hit .158 in 12 games with Class A Potomac as he tried to work his way back from the DL.
The Giants signed him on Aug. 4 and sent him to Triple-A Fresno, where he hit .270 with 6 HRs and 18 RBI in 25 games. After starting very slowly with Fresno, Nady heated up late, batting .371 with 3 HR and 8 RBI in his final 10 games with the Grizzlies.
By comparison, Burrell hit .202 in 24 games with the Tampa Bay Rays before being released in 2010. The Giants picked him up and he hit .266 with 18 HR and 51 RBI in 96 games with them that season.
Like Burrell in 2010, Nady is 33 years old.
So if Nady can get hot like Pat the Ball in September, why wasn’t he with the Giants in August, making him eligible for the postseason.
Well, as it turns out, the Aug. 31 postseason roster deadline applies only to players being acquired from other organizations.
The rule states that any player on a team’s active 25-man roster, disabled list, restricted list or suspended list on Aug. 31 is eligible for the postseason.
For the Giants, that would include these 35 players:
- PITCHERS (17): Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Guillermo Mota, George Kontos, Jose Mijares, Shane Loux, Brad Penny, Clay Hensley, Eric Surkamp, Brian Wilson.
- CATCHERS (3): Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez, Eli Whiteside
- INFIELDERS (9): Brandon Belt, Marco Scutaro, Ryan Theriot, Brandon Crawford, Joaquin Arias, Pablo Sandoval, Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, Angel Villalona.
- OUTFIELDERS (6): Angel Pagan, Gregor Blanco, Hunter Pence, Francisco Peguero, Melky Cabrera, Justin Christian.
However, if any of those 35 players are injured at the start of the postseason, any of those players can be replaced with any other player who was with the organization on Aug. 31, whether on the 40-man roster or not.
So with Cabrera on the restricted list and Freddy Sanchez on the DL, those are two players Nady could easily replace in the postseason.
So that’s good news.
Now all Nady needs to do is peform like Pat the Bat, circa 2010.