The ole’ Juice Radar definitely starts buzzing when a solid power-hitter, in this case San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence, goes on a Babe Ruth-type of tear. In the past six games, Pence, who’s averaged just 23 homers a year in his seven-year career, is batting .520, has shelled six dingers and driven in 19 runs.
Yeah. He’s Raking.
Pence has always been solid. After all, he helped San Francisco win the 2012 World Series with his energy and clutch bat. But he was known more for his inspirational speeches than toting a power stick. The 30-year-old’s September numbers are epic and include nine home runs and 25RBIs. It's only September 16th.
Dating back to 1916, just 16 players have repped a September-October that included at least nine home runs and at least 25 RBIs. Hank Greenberg did it in 1940, hitting 15 blasts with 38 RBIs, and Barry Bonds did it in that magical 2001 season (16 HRs, 25 RBIs).
Pence is also the first Giant since Bonds (2005) to homer in four-straight games and the first Giants player since Willie Mays in 1965 to homer in every game of a four-game series against the Dodgers.
He’s already tied a career-high in home runs with 25 and he’s approaching 100 RBIs for the second-straight year. Pence’s recent power surge is getting him Bonds-type respect around the league as well.
"That's one guy you really don't want to be leaving the ball up to at all," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told cbssports.com, after Pence’s two homer performance against his first-place Dodgers on Sunday.
The Giants have had a miserable year at 69-81 and their playoff hopes were stomped out early on. So, in about 10 games the season will be over for cellar dwellers, as will Pence’s hot streak.
It’s probably just one of those colossal streaks that occurs in baseball, and is usually followed by even longer slumps. If Pence, however, is doing Chris Davis numbers next season…I’m just saying.