Even though the San Francisco Giants fell out of the playoff hunt a while ago, slugger Hunter Pence continues to press on. Pence hit two home runs Sunday, going deep for the fourth consecutive game in a 4-3 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nobody on the Giants had homered in four straight since Barry Bonds in 2005.
Pence might not be the quite offensive force Bonds was earlier in the century, but he's producing at a great clip: He's batting .352/.414/.577 in the second half, he's got an 1.149 OPS over the past four weeks and a 1.457 OPS with nine homers in September. Good gravy. He has 10 homers in his past 19 games, and also has 19 RBIs over the past six games, the Associated Press notes. That's really hard to do — no matter how contrived RBIs are.
''I don't think I've ever seen anyone that hot,'' Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong said.
Pence, who turns 31 next April, is going to cash in, too; he's a free agent after this season. The Giants, though, appear earnest in pursuing a longterm contract. It's in their interest to do so, writes Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area:
Losing Pence would decimate the Giants, who already need an everyday left fielder and have a center fielder, Angel Pagan, coming off a major hamstring procedure.
So there, president Larry Baer and GM Brian Sabean! But somebody is going to give Pence money coming off what, so far, is a career season relative to the rest of the league. He's ninth in the league in adjusted OPS and sixth in home runs.
Even if Pence and the Giants don't agree, he's going to be an attractive player on the market. He has a good defensive reputation and a solid one in the clubhouse. And he's coming off what amounts to a monster season.
He's also the first Answer Man in Big League Stew history. Remember the time he walked through the sliding glass window trying to get out of a hot tub? Rookie mistake:
HP: I don't … I really just … It happened so fast, like a quick decision to turn. I think I was looking. It's not that I washed it — it was a brand new townhouse, so maybe they washed it — but someone else had shut the door without me looking, so in my brain it was open. … You know what's amazing about it? How many people have told me they've done the same thing, but they didn't fall through, they just bounced off it. I'm the only one that's crazy enough to be running.
He's come a long way in overcoming awkwardness.