With the rain and gloom I decided to go downtown and see if I could fake my way in to the noon WBC game — Canada vs. Italy — without paying. I can’t just flash my credential because WBC credentialing is different than spring training credentialing and I missed that train a few weeks ago. Not that I’d prefer the press box. To be honest, I’d rather just hit the stands.
I got to Chase Field and the credential worked for parking — free spot in the media lot for the next 12 hours or so, babies — but it didn’t work at the gate. I suppose if I called some folks I could get some, but given that it’s only $15 general admission for this early game and given that I’m truly not going to cover it like a reporter I’d feel weird about it. I got a get-me-in ticket, camped out in a hotel lobby and I’m going to head into the park here in about a half hour for Canada-Italy. After that it’s USA-Mexico.
I may or may not have in-game posts here (depends on how well the internet works in the ballpark), but follow me on Twitter for in-game snark. I’ll have a big “my day at the WBC” post tomorrow or — depending on how ugly my night is and how bad my travel is tomorrow — on Monday.
Now, all I need to do is to figure out if I should by some Mexico merch for my anti-U.S. heel-turn before tonight’s game. Thoughts?
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.