How do the Giants win without Sandoval? Same as always, pitch like crazy

Pablo Sandoval doesn't drive in every run the Giants score.

Then again, he does have the only two home runs they've hit in the last four games -- including one that he apparently hit two days after he broke the hamate bone in his right hand.

Pablo Sandoval isn't the Giants' only good hitter.

Then again, he is leading the team in home runs (five), runs scored (16) and RBI (15). The Giants have scored 93 runs this year, and Sandoval has either scored or driven in 26 of them.

The Giants may have trouble winning without Sandoval, who will miss the next 4-6 weeks after surgery to remove the hamate.

Then again, when Sandoval had the same surgery on his left hand last year -- only a switch hitter would need it on both hands -- the Giants went 25-16 in the 41 games he missed. Not only that, but they were 15-8 during that stretch, until they also lost Buster Posey to his season-ending injury.

How did they do it? You know how they did it. They pitched like crazy, with a 2.99 team ERA during the 41-game span.

If the Giants are going to survive this Panda absence, they'll need to pitch like crazy again, and Posey will need to hit at least as well as he has so far . . . and maybe Conor Gillaspie will need to prove he's ready.

The Giants called up Gillaspie from Triple-A Fresno to take Sandoval's place on the roster, and manager Bruce Bochy put the 24-year-old into his lineup immediately at third base, batting second, for Thursday afternoon's game against the Marlins. Melky Cabrera took over Sandoval's third spot in the order.

Gillaspie was red-hot in the minors, batting .512 (22-for-43) over his last 10 games. Giants people say they don't expect him to hit home runs like Sandoval, but that he has gap power that should result in some doubles.

For a Giants team that has a .202 batting average with runners in scoring position (only the Padres, Marlins and A's have been worse), any big hits would be welcome.

Then again, if you take out Sandoval's 7-for-25, the rest of the Giants are actually hitting just .192 with runners in scoring position, which would rank last in the National League, ahead of only the neighboring A's in the majors.

Can the Giants survive without Sandoval?

I guess we're about to find out.

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