He was joking, sadly, but how much money would you pay for the team presidents of the Yankees and Red Sox to throw down on national television? I’d personally pony up $47 for it:
Of course I doubt we see any fisticiffsmanship in this Yankees-Red Sox series, even with the recent history of Ryan Dempster plunking A-Rod. For one thing, I doubt that many Yankees are willing to go to the mat for A-Rod’s honor even if they’re all saying the right things about their teammate since he came back. More importantly, though, the Yankees are only 2.5 games back of a playoff slot and they’ve needed every bit of manpower they have to get that close. They won’t risk suspensions when every game is basically a must-win.
Still: would love to see that Levine-Lucchino throwdown.
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.