Selig: expanded playoffs coming, but maybe not next year

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When Bud Selig talks to reporters he usually runs thought three or four things and then walks on. He did that last night in Milwaukee. Here are the things:

  • Labor negotiations are moving along just swell. There is no timetable or deadlines for implementing a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires in December, but no one is sweating it. It’s gonna happen.
  • Expanded playoffs are a near-certainty, but Selig is not optimistic that it could be implemented for 2012.  He was asked how to square expanded playoffs with not stretching the season into November, and he said that shouldn’t be a problem, strongly suggesting that the plan will be to do one-game play-ins between the two wild card teams in each league. My guess: everyone is still high from that game 162 crack cocaine from two weeks ago and wants to keep the feeling of scheduled win-or-go-home games alive.
  • Selig met with would-be Astros’ owner Jim Crane last week. The meeting went well he said, but there’s still no word on when or if Crane will be approved as the owner before the November 30th deadline built into Crane’s deal with current owner Drayton McLane.
  • He has no concerns about the Mets or their finances. He also sounded pretty optimistic about how the Dodgers’ litigation is going.
  • While he maintains that he will retire after the 2012 season, Selig left open the possibility that he would travel to the city of Istar during the Age of Might and ensconce himself in the court of the Kingpriest. Thereafter, he would use an artifact called the Bloodstone to retain his immortality and eventually enter The Abyss and seek to challenge Takhisis and become a god.

Hmm. Wait. That last one may have been mis-transcribed. I’d check my notes but I lost ’em. Oh well.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.