Pablo Sandoval hits for the cycle against Rockies

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Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval hit for the cycle on Thursday night at Colorado’s Coors Field, becoming the 26th player in Giants history to accomplish the feat. And only the 10th since the franchise moved out to San Francisco.

Those factoids come courtesy of Andrew Baggarly, beat writer with the San Jose Mercury News.

Sandoval hit a two-run homer in the first inning, a single in the second inning, a double in the fifth inning and a triple in the top of the sixth.

He belly-flopped head-first into the third base bag once he reached it, almost as an ode to those who have recently questioned his chronically expanding waist line. Like, well, us.

Sandoval is up to 20 homers and 25 doubles on the season — impressive numbers when you consider that he missed 40 games earlier this summer because of a fractured hamate bone in his right hand. Onward, Panda.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics