Panik has hit second in all nine of the Giants' postseason games so far, but he's hit just .239/.271/.348 in 46 at-bats, with three of his 11 hits coming during the Wild Card game to open the postseason. He bat just after leadoff man and center fielder Gregor Blanco. Catcher Buster Posey bats third, followed by third baseman Pablo Sandoval, right fielder Hunter Pence, first baseman Brandon Belt, designated hitter Michael Morse, left fielder Travis Ishikawa and shortstop Brandon Crawford.
With a man on base in the bottom of the third, Panik belted an 88 mph cutter from Adam Wainwright out to right for a two-run shot that gave the Giants a lead. That lead wouldn't last, but the Giants would wind up winning in the bottom of the ninth. Panik finished 1 for 4, with one run scored and two RBI.
Wong is in the midst of a hot stretch, going 5 for 11 with two doubles, one triple, two home runs and four RBI in his last three games. His third-inning home run Wednesday put the Cardinals up 4-1, but the Giants were able to score five unanswered runs to take a 3-1 series lead. Wong has hit .280/.308/.840 with three home runs and six RBI in 25 postseason at-bats.
Since July 6 (and including the postseason), Wong has hit 13 home runs over 74 games, and as I have detailed in a recent blog post, he has backed up the increase in his power numbers with dramatically higher flyball distances. Wong has already demonstrated he can swipe 20 bases in a season, and his recent homer pace shows he has a shot to complete the other end of the 20-20 equation next season, even with some regression.
I've actually projected Wong to fall four home runs short of the threshold of 20, but barring a complete reversal of his recent progress, he should be targeted by owners in all standard mixed league formats next spring.
After the Cardinals fell behind 4-0 in the first inning, Wong put the team on the board with a two-run triple in the fourth. The two extra-base hits come one game after slugging a walkoff home run to give his team a Game 2 win. Wong has hit .238/.273/.714 with two home runs and five RBI in 21 postseason at-bats.
Valdespin didn't perform well over the second half with the club. He's been with both the Mets and Marlins in his four year career.
Lucas completed 2014 with a stat line of .251/.283/.296. He struggled to make consistent contact, fanning 48 times in just 179 at-bats.
"I really enjoy it to play with this team," he told the Washington Post. "Great guys. Good front office. I was really happy to be here and in this moment with the team."
Cabrera was traded from Cleveland to Washington with just two months remaining on his contract and was moved from shortstop to second. He could receive strong consideration in a thin free agent class for shortstops headlined by Hanley Ramirez and Jed Lowrie. He also proved steady at second base, though he has little range at either middle infield position. And the Yankees will be seeking a new shortstop to replace retired Derek Jeter.
The presence of Ian Desmond would prevent Cabrera from moving back to short if he remains with the Nationals.
Panik, who also drove in a run on a groundout in the second inning, reached base in the seventh on a one-out single, and after the bases were loaded by another single and a walk, he dashed 90 feet on a ball that got by the catcher to put the Giants up for good. The pitcher then uncorked another wild pitch while trying to intentionally walk the man at the plate, and the new lead runner was gunned down trying to extend the lead.
Panik was just 0 for 10 in his previous two games after opening the postseason with two multihit performances. He and the Giants will face the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series.
Cabrera got ejected for arguing a strike 3 call by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza in the 10th inning. Williams argued the call and was ejected immediately after. Cabrera doubled in the third inning and scored the only run of the night for the Nationals thus far. He has two hits in his first eight postseason at-bats.