Stadiums across baseball are observing a moment of silence this evening to honor the 19 firefighters who lost their lives yesterday while battling a wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona. The tragedy was the deadliest single incident for U.S. firefighters since September 11, 2001.
The Diamondbacks are miles away from their home state tonight while playing in New York, but they honored the memory of the fallen firefighters by hanging a “19 Yarnell” jersey in the visiting dugout at Citi Field. The Mets made the very same gesture.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times notes that the Diamondbacks will wear black jerseys for their next home series, which is set to begin this Friday against the Rockies.
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.