Sorry, for reasons that are unimportant I wasn’t able to do a full And That Happened this morning. I hope and pray you’ll survive.
I do have time to note, however, that Rick Porcello’s shutout — his second consecutive shutout — was quite the thing. No walks, no strikeouts. Which is not something that happens too terribly often. Indeed, the last time it happened in the big leagues was 1989, when Jeff Ballard did it.
I’ll also note that Tim Lincecum followed up his no-hitter with an eight shutout innings performance. Contrast this to last year’s no-no followup in which he gave up so many hits and runs the box score had to be expressed in scientific notation.
The rest of today’s HardballTalk day will be business as usual. In the meantime, last night’s results:
Tigers 3, Athletics 0
Giants 5, Cardinals 0
Nationals 7, Rockies 1
Blue Jays 4, Brewers 1
Pirates 3, Diamondbacks 2
Angels 8, White Sox 4; Angels 7, White Sox 5
Braves 5, Mets 4
Orioles 8, Rangers 3
Marlins 5, Phillies 4
Rays 2, Yankees 1
Indians 10, Dodgers 3
Padres 8, Reds 2
Cubs 2, Red Sox 1
Twins 10, Royals 2
Mariners 13, Astros 2
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.