Cliff Lee rebuts Dirk Hayhurst’s cheating accusation

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Amidst all the clamor of Clay Buchholz’s alleged indiscretion, former pitcher and current Toronto radio host Dirk Hayhurst accused Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee of using his hat to gain an unfair advantage:

Now I’m getting lambasted for calling this cheating; cheating when there is solid video evidence to support it.

Pitchers break the law, folks. Some do it in the accepted “it’s only five miles over the limit, officer,” way. Some have big enough names that they can get away with it even when it’s plain for all to see – Cliff Lee’s hat, anyone?

Asked to comment on the accusation, Lee responded, “Who’s Dirk Hayhurst?”

More, via High Cheese:

“That’s nothing,” Lee said of tugging on his hat bill in between pitches.

“That’s a completely inaccurate statement,” Lee said of Hayhurst’s accusation. “I’ll go get you my hat right now. I’ve been wearing the same hat for three years. It’s sweat and rosin.”

Sweat, of course, builds up on hats. Pitchers are permitted to use a rosin bag, of course, since it’s located behind the mound for their usage.

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.