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.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.