Adam Wainwright threw seven scoreless innings last night. Which is not a big deal as he does that kind of thing a lot. But the bullpen threw two more scoreless innings and the opponent was the Rays and that amounted to the third straight shutout of the apparently doomed team from Tampa Bay. The Rays are the first AL team to be shut out since the Twins did it in 2004.
That, plus the final inning of their loss on Saturday, adds up to 28 consecutive scoreless innings for Tampa Bay, which broke the old franchise record of 26 innings, set in 2002. That Devil Rays team finished 55-106.
They’re currently on pace to go 59-103, so I guess things could be worse.
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.