With the bases loaded in the third inning Monday, baseball’s most awkward player delivered one of the awkward doubles you’ll ever see, breaking the game open as the Giants went on to rout the Cardinals.
Hunter Pence’s broken-bat screwball caused shortstop Pete Kozma to initially break right, only to have the ball end up about three feet to his left.
Here it is, 40 seconds into the video:
The hit was just Pence’s fourth of the NLCS. It went as his first double since Sept. 9. Had Kozma held his ground when the ball left Pence’s bat, there’s a real chance it would have turned into a double play, potentially halting a five-run rally before it ever got started. Instead, it was game over.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.