Talking Giants Baseball: A San Francisco Giants/Baseball Blog: July 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Giants Acquire Hunter Pence from the Philadelphia Phillies

By Vince Cestone
Twitter: @vintalkingiants

Hunter Pence taking his at-bat with
the Philadelphia Phillies.

The San Francisco Giants made a big splash today, acquiring outfielder Hunter Pence from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Answering the Los Angeles Dodgers, who acquired shortstop Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins and Shane Victorino from the Phillies, the Giants sent right fielder Nate Schierholtz, catching prospect Tommy Joseph, and Single-A right-hander Seth Rosin for Pence and cash considerations.

Pence is hitting .271 with 17 home runs and 59 RBIs this season. He has a .336 on-base percentage and 37 walks. Pence is 4-for-11 this season at AT&T Park, including a home run and two RBIs.

The Giants' new right fielder also owns a career .329 average at AT&T Park.

San Francisco expects to bat Pence number five in its batting order. Giants' number five hitters have combined to hit just .259, with seven home runs and 52 RBIs.

Pence improves that spot in the order with better numbers, including slugging percentage. Giants' hitters combined to slug just .386 from the number five spot, and Pence is slugging .447.

Pence owns a career .290 average, with 131 home runs, 471 RBIs, and a .342 OBP.

Schierholtz was hitting just .257, with five home runs and 17 RBIs.

The Giants were said to be after Royals' closer Jonathan Broxton, but he was traded to the Kansas City Royals.

Unlike last years deadline deal in which the Giants acquired Carlos Beltran, Pence is not a free agent after this season. He is eligible for arbitration after this year and is expected to make between $13-15 million.

Pence will not be a free agent until after 2013.

Just in: Talking Giants Baseball has learned that "Sabean said there is room for Pence and Melky. Also said deal was a partial reaction to losing streak, Dodger sweep and Dodger moves," according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle via Twitter.

Update (7:16 p.m.): Giants' broadcaster Duane Kuiper just reported Pence will not be activated tonight since he is still en route to San Francisco. Pence wanted to be with the Giants before first pitch, but it looks like that will not happen. He will be activated tomorrow, and he is likely to start.


The Giants made an excellent statement by acquiring Pence. They told the Dodgers and baseball they are in it to win it.

Pence is a dynamic player who can do a lot of things. He can hit for power, run, steal bases, and give you solid defense in the outfield.

The Giants, so desperate for a spark as they sleepwalked through the Dodgers series, picked up someone with flare and energy. Even when he takes his at-bat, he has a lot of moving parts--but he still keeps enough focus to put together a quality at-bat.

He may have only hit .271 with 17 home runs at an offensive paradise in Philadelphia, but being in the thick of a pennant race will motivate a baseball player to succeed. 

 Pence hit .300 on the road, and 10 of his 17 home runs came away from Philadelphia.

Looking at the Giants' lineup, they now have a formidable middle of the order with Pence:

  • 3 - Melky Cabrera, .353/10 HR/51 RBI
  • 4 - Buster Posey, .315/13 HR/60 RBI
  • 5 - Hunter Pence, .271/17 HR/59 RBI
  • 6 - Pablo Sandoval, .299/8 HR/33 RBI (but has been injured).

The numbers do not lie. The Giants will be just fine offensively.

The Giants are also picking up somewhat of a hot hitter. In his last seven games, Pence was 6-for-18.

It will be interesting to see how Pence does at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, but he has hit well in San Francisco. Will he be the Giants' offensive savior, or will he be another Aaron Rowand?

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Information from contributed to this article.

Check out my article on the San Jose Giants' Joe Panik.

Photo Attribution: By MikeSheridan89 on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, July 30, 2012

Giants Look to Get Back on Track as They Welcome the New York Mets


By Vince Cestone 

Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants will look to rebound after getting swept by their rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Although they lost three straight games at home to Los Angeles, the Giants are still in sole possession of first place by a mere .001 percentage point (.545 winning percentage for the Giants compared to .544 for the Dodgers).

After being shutout twice in a row by Los Angeles, Madison Bumgarner (11-6, 3.10 ERA) will look to be the stopper. Bumgarner is coming off a gem against the San Diego Padres on July 24 where he pitched seven inning and gave up two earned runs in his no-decision.

The Giants' offense is leaking oil. In their last four games, they have scored just six runs and many of their offensive starters have gone cold.

Brandon Belt, despite going 3-for-5 on Friday night and 4-for-10 in the Dodger series, is hitting .180 in July with a .261 on-base percentage and 26 strikeouts in 61 at-bats.

Angel Pagan has also suddenly gone stone cold. After getting off to a good start, Pagan is hitting just .217 in his last seven games, with a .250 OBP and a .348 slugging percentage.

The Giants are hitting with very little power, if any. Scoring just 19 runs in the last week, San Francisco has hit just three home runs and 15 total extra base hits.

The Mets will ask Jeremy Hefner to face the struggling Giants' offense. Hefner (1-4, 5.40 ERA), in his last appearance, pitched a quality start, throwing six innings and giving up just two earned runs.

Here are some more tidbits:
  • Mets' outfielder Scott Hairston is 0-for-6 against Bumgarner in his career.
  • Hefner pitched three scoreless innings against the Giants in his major league debut in New York on April 23.
  • Bumgarner is 7-1 with a 1.89 ERA in nine home starts this season.
  • The Giants have no been shut out in three straight games since June 23-25, 1992.
  • The Giants have won 11 of their last 15 games against the Mets
  • Giants' catcher Hector Sanchez is eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday.
The Giants are 2-4 on the homestand.


The Giants are playing awful baseball right now. They look like they have no idea what they are doing at the plate and it shows.

The Giants twice on Saturday had leadoff doubles that never came around to score. The Giants twice on Sunday made baserunning gaffes that killed potential rallies.

They are swinging at pitches way out of the strike zone and taking pitches right down the middle. The situational hitting is lacking in a big way and it's due to their overaggressiveness.

Can it be the result of trying to do too much?

Case in point. Buster Posey lead off the bottom of the second inning in Saturday's game with a double. The next batter, Angel Pagan, swung at the very next pitch and popped the ball up to left.

It is going so bad that even when the Giants do make hard contact, it is finding a glove. Newly acquired infielder Marco Scutaro can tell you all about that.

Scutaro scorched the ball in each of his three at-bats on Sunday, but only had one hit to show for it.

Defensively, the Giants made costly errors both on Saturday and Sunday. Brandon Crawford's ground-ball miscue and Scuatro's botched pop-up both led to runs.

The bottom line is the Giants are still in a great position to win the National League West. They are percentage points ahead of the Dodgers in first place and have an incredibly easy schedule coming up.

They won't step foot east of Chicago for the remainder of the season. Can the barrage of games remaining against San Diego and Colorado be enough to carry them into the postseason--and dare I say beyond?

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