Hunter Pence’s struggles caused him to be dropped to sixth in the order in Game 4 tonight, but he has responded in a big way.
Pence launched a long solo home run to left field off Adam Wainwright in the top of the second inning to get the Giants on the board. According to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News, it traveled an estimated 451 feet.
Pence entered tonight’s action hitting just .161 (5-for-31) with no extra-base hits or RBI this postseason.
Pete Kozma reached on a fielding error to lead off the bottom of the second against Tim Lincecum, but he was quickly erased on a stolen base attempt. Not exactly the best idea to give away outs to the guy who is struggling. Lincecum walked two in the inning, including opposing pitcher Adam Wainwright, but he managed to escape and keep the score at 2-1. Still, he’s already at 44 pitches, so it’s unlikely he’ll last long in this one.
The Giants had a chance to tie it up in the top of the third inning when Angel Pagan reached on a two-out triple, but Wainwright got Marco Scutaro on a comebacker to end the threat. The Cardinals lead this one 2-1 as we move to the bottom of the third inning.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.