Slamming Matt Harvey for actually living his life is a fun new sport in New York. How dare you date, how dare you go to a basketball game, how dare you talk to the media. Those who love to play that sport will have a great chance to do so next week. As Newsday reports, Harvey is scheduled to throw off a mound in Port St. Lucie on Monday. But . . .
Monday also is the Rangers’ first home game in the Stanley Cup Final. Harvey, an avid Rangers fan who is sporting a playoff beard, has tried to make it to New York when his schedule allows to attend the games . . .
Per his agreement with the team, Harvey is allowed to be with the Mets when they’re in New York. They are off on that Monday but will be at their homes there in preparation for a homestand starting the next day. So, technically, Harvey is within his rights to be in New York on Monday. And the expectation would be that he’d toss his bullpen session, hop a flight and be in Madison Square Garden in time for the face-off.
Which is totally cool and normal and shouldn’t cause any trouble. But how much do you wanna bet someone, somewhere, will have a problem with this?
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.