Results tagged ‘ Hunter Pence ’
Hunter Pence has been looking to contribute since joining the Giants late last month.
He got one Saturday with an RBI double. He got an even bigger one Sunday.
Pence hammered a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth, sending the Giants to a 9-6 win over the Rockies.
“There’s definitely times that you’re down, but I understand that the next at-bat everything can change,” Pence said. “I try to think of it as ‘Let it go and go out there and try to do everything you can to win. Whether you’re getting hits or not, play defense, and you never know when you’re going to get another opportunity.’ “
The opportunity Sunday came in the eighth inning.
Trailing 6-4, the Giants loaded the bases with no one out. But Marco Scutaro’s fly to left was not deep enough to advance any of the runners.
The Giants made it 6-5 on an infield single by Melky Cabrera. Then Buster Pence made Rockies’ closer Rafael Betancourt work before lofting a 3-2 pitch to left field for a sacrifice to tie the game.
But with two on and two out, the Rockies were looking to get out of the inning tied 6-6. Then Pence smacked an 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence for a 9-6 lead.
It was the first home run by a Giants player other than Buster Posey at AT&T Park since June 29.
And that called for a curtain call, even if it was a bit forced.
“Melky pushed me out there,” Pence said. “I didn’t even realize … it was pretty exciting. Those things don’t happen very often and is just kid of humbling.”
It’s hard to call a game this early in August as a must-win. But these are games the Giants need to win. When you’re playing a team like the Rockies, those are series they need to win.
It’s especially true with the NL-leading Washington Nationals coming to town on Monday.
Last season, in the midst of an offensive struggle, the Giants added a right fielder. This season, they did the same thing.
Last season, that newly acquired right fielder started by going 2 for 17 for the Giants. This season, the new right fielder did the same thing.
Last season, that right fielder got his first multi-hit game in his fifth game with the Giants. This season, the new right fielder did the same thing.
We hope that’s where the comparison ends.
On Sunday, Hunter Pence, acquired in a trade with the Phillies last week, went 2 for 5 with two doubles and three RBI in the Giants’ win over the Rockies.
Last season, it took Carlos Beltran 21 games before he got his first multi-extra base hit game, and 21 games before he got his first three-RBI game. It also took Beltran 11 games before the Giants won three games with him in the lineup.
Pence accomplished all those things in just his fifth game with the Giants.
It helped the Giants complete their first three-game sweep of a road series this season behind another solid outing from Tim Lincecum.
Lincecum labored through a 36-pitch first inning, but only allowed one run. He finished with a quality start, allowing just the one run on five hits and five walks (yech) in an 104-pitch outing.
The Giants scored 35 runs in the series. Angel Pagan went 0 for 4 with a walk Sunday to prevent the Giants from having every starting position player get at least one hit in each of three games.
Hopefully this series will allow the Giants hitters build enough confidence to help them when they move to St. Louis for a key four-game series. It’s a key series because these Rockies now head to Los Angeles for a series against the Dodgers.
The Giants’ three-game swept did not gain them any room between them and the Dodgers, who swept the Cubs at home. The Giants’ lead remains a half-game.
But the Giants are now 4-1 in Lincecum starts since the All-Star Break, after going 4-14 in his starts before the break. He has a 2.48 ERA since the break.
Now, it’s time to get Matt Cain some runs. The Giants lost in Cain’s last two starts, mostly a product of poor run support (nothing new for Cain). Cain will face Jake Westbrook on Monday in the opener in St. Louis.
When the Giants traded for Freddy Sanchez in 2009, MoreSplashHits was wary of trading away pitching prospect Tim Alderson.
But that deal worked out for the Giants, as Sanchez was a key member of the 2010 World Series title team, and Alderson has not amounted to much.
When the Giants traded for Carlos Beltran last year, MoreSplashHits was wary of trading away Zach Wheeler.
That deal did not work out for the Giants, as Beltran struggled, then got hurt, then got hot, but a bit too late to help the Giants make the playoffs. Meanwhile, Wheeler was just promoted to Triple-A for the Mets last week.
So when the Giants traded for Hunter Pence last week, MoreSplashHits was again wary. But it wasn’t because of the players the Giants gave up — OF Nate Schierholtz, C Tommy Joseph and P Seth Rosin.
Schierholtz was basically on his way out of San Francisco, basically request a trade. Schierholtz had been given the chance to win the starting right field job each of the past three seasons, but was unable to do so. We still think Schierholtz will be a good big-league outfielder, in the right lineup and in the right ballpark. But in San Francisco, he was going to be little than a good reserve outfielder.
Joseph was the center piece of the deal. He was the No. 4 prospect in the Giants system according to Baseball Prospectus.
But with Joseph a catcher, it was an area of strength of the Giants. Their best player is a catcher in Buster Posey. They also have a young backup in Hector Sanchez. And Andrew Susac, the No. 6 Giants prospect, is playing well at Class A San Jose.
Rosin, once on the Giants’ list of top-20 prospects, has faded in the past year or so to a marginal prospect.
So the concern wasn’t as much on what the Giants gave up to get Pence, but what the acquisition of Pence would mean to the organization going forward.
Pence is earning $10.4 million this season in his third year of arbitration. He will have one more year of arbitration, which will likely put his 2013 salary around $13-$14 million.
With Melky Cabrera expected to require a multi-year deal at a similar per-season salary, it left us to wonder whether the Giants could afford an 2013 outfield that consists of both Pence and Cabrera.
Giants GM Brian Sabean said there is room in the budget for both.
“It became apparent we were going to have flexibility this offseason,” Sabean said. “I’m sure everybody’s curious if we have enough room (to re-sign Cabrera) after Pence, and we do.”
Sabean also said he’d like to keep Pence beyond 2013.
Well, that’s encouraging. It’s also encouraging that the Giants brass was willing to take on a salary like Pence’s ($10.4 million) in exchange for Schierholtz ($1.3 million).
It may be a sign that the Giants are willing to enter 2013 with a payroll significantly above the current $130 million.
By MoreSplashHits’ calculations, the Giants would have about $25 million in 2013 to re-sign Cabrera, add another outfielder and a starting second baseman.
If they bring back Cabrera and Pence, that would cost in the neighborhood of $27 million for 2013.
That would leave the Giants with a budget of $132 million for 2013 and still in need of a second baseman, as it does not appear there is one ready to make the jump to the majors from within the system.
And they would need to find someone to play center field, as a payroll that includes Cabrera and Pence would almost certainly take Angel Pagan out of the mix. Pagan is set to make $7-$8 million a year in free agency last season. Plus, they wouldn’t want to block the path of top prospect Gary Brown, who after a slow start is playing well at Double-A Richmond. Brown is hitting .287 with a .349 OBP, seven HRs, 37 RBI and 64 runs.
But unless Brown is promoted to Triple-A very soon, it doesn’t seem likely that he will be an option to start in center in 2013 for the Giants. And Gregor Blanco’s struggles doesn’t really make him a strong candidate either.
So even if the Giants are able to bring Cabrera back, there are still questions lingering for 2013.
Here’s a closer look at the prospects the Giants recently dealt away:
- C Tommy Joseph, 21, was drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft out of Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Arz. Joseph hit 16 HR, 68 RBI and .236 in 117 games in Class A Augusta in 2010. He hit 22 HR, 95 RBI and .270 in 127 games for Class A San Jose in 2011. This season for Double-A Richmond, he had 8 HR, 38 RBI and hit .260 in 80 games.
- P Seth Rosin is a 6-6, 23-year-old right-handed pitcher who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by the Giants out of Minnesota. Rosin went 2-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 89 innings for Class-A August in 2011, making 10 starts in 39 games. He was 2-1 with a 4.31 ERA in 34 games (five starts) for Class A San Jose this season. He struck out 68 in 56.1 innings with 18 walks.
- 2B Charlie Culberson (traded to Colorado for Marco Scutaro), 23, was drafted in the first round in the 2007 (51st overall, sandwich pick) out of Calhoun (Ga.) HS. The Giants had high hopes for Culberson. But his minor-league career peaked in 2010 for Class A San Jose when he hit .290 with 16 HR and 71 RBI. After hitting .259 with 10 HR and 56 RBI for Double-A Richmond last season, he hit .236 with 10 HR an 53 RBI in 91 games for Class A Fresno this season. He had a brief spell with the Giants in May when Ryan Theriot went on the DL. But he was 3 for 22 (.136) with 7 Ks and one RBI in six games.
MoreSplashHits tweeted, rather tongue-in-check, that since Hunter Pence joined the game, the San Francisco Giants have averaged better than seven runs a game.
That has a lot more to do with weak Colorado Rockies pitchers than anything Pence has done.
Pence is 2 for 17 since joining the Giants. For what it’s worth, Carlos Beltran also went 2 for 17 to start his tenure with the Giants last season.
But Pence has produce a positive contribution. With Pence hitting in the No. 5 hole, it made it easier for manager Bruce Bochy to put Angel Pagan back in the leadoff spot.
It’s clear now that the best Giants outfield is Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence. So if that’s the case, who is the best leadoff option?
Marco Scutaro, who started there on Thursday? Hardly.
It’s Pagan. And in this series in Colorado, Pagan has responded.
Pagan went 4 for 6 with two runs, three RBI, a home run and a stolen base in Saturday’s win over the Rockies. This followed Friday’s game when he went 3 for 4 with four runs and two walks.
That makes him 7 for 10 with two walks in two games in his return to the leadoff spot.
The big question now is whether this is a Colorado-aided offensive spurt and the start of something big for Pagan.
We all know how hot Pagan can get. His 21-game hitting streak earlier this year is evidence of that. But we’ve also seen the flip side to that streaky side.
But the Giants have put up 27 runs in two games with Pagan at the top of the order. We’ll gladly take that as long as we can get it.
And it might not have happened if the Giants hadn’t added Hunter Pence.
For the second game in a row, the Giants have pounded out double-digit runs and hits. But again, the Giants have received a lot of help from the Rockies.
Wilin Rosario, a catcher by trade, was inserted into the game at third base — a byproduct of having only four position players on their bench. In the eighth inning, the move may have cost the Rockies four runs.
After Brandon Belt led of the inning with a double, Pagan singled to left. Carlos Gonzalez appeared to have a shot at throwing Belt out at the plate until Rosario cut off the throw. Rosario then made it worse by trying to throw a relay home, which sailed wide and allowed Pagan to take second.
Then Pagan very unwisely attempted to steal third. He might have been thrown out except Rosario caught the ball but whiffed on the tag.
Then Ryan Theriot hit a ball down the third-base line that Rosario was unable to glove. It was a play a normal third baseman likely makes.
That led to a four-run eighth.
But if Rosario doesn’t cut off CarGo’s throw, actually tags Pagan and gloves Theriot’s grounder, that would have added up to three outs and no runs.
The Giants will go for the sweep with Tim Lincecum on the mound. Lincecum will face Travis Chatwood, who will be called up from Double-A to fill the spot of Christian Friedrich, who was placed on the DL.