Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pence swears he's not pressing

In McTaggart's new blog post he talks to Hunter "0-fer" Pence, who swears the absence of Berkman isn't the reason for the absence of hits:

"I think for me, the only pressing would be to get going. When it starts to avalanche on you, you start pressing to try to get a hit and do too much or too little and over think things. You think you have a heavy bat, so I really have to clear my mind and get back to the drawing board."

Let's have us a gander at Pence's first 12 ABs of the season:

1st AB, G1: Bot 1st. 0 on-2 out. Strikeout swinging on a 1-2 pitch
2nd AB, G1: Bot 4th. 0 on-1 out. Strikeout swinging on a 1-2 pitch
3rd AB, G1: Bot 6th. 2 on-1 out. Groundout to third on first pitch
4th AB, G1: Bot 8th. 2 on-2 out. Pop foul to first base on 0-2 pitch
5th AB, G2: Bot 1st. 1 on-1 out. Groundout to third on 2-1 pitch
6th AB, G2: Bot 3rd. 2 on-2 out. Strikeout singing on 2-2 pitch
7th AB, G2: Bot 6th. 1 on-2 out. Flyout to left/center on 1-1 pitch
8th AB, G2: Bot 8th. 1 on-1 out. Groundout/fielder's choice to second on 1-1 pitch
9th AB, G3: Bot 1st. 0 on-2 out. Groundout to short on first pitch
10th AB, G3: Bot 4th. 0 on-0 out. Grounder to third, reached on error on 0-1 pitch
11th AB, G3: Bot 6th. 0 on-1 out. Groundout to short, 1-1 pitch
12th AB, G3: Bot 8th. 0 on-0 out. Strikeout swinging on 0-2 pitch

So. In 12 ABs, Pence has only reached on an error. He has not seen a 3-ball count. He has been out on the first pitch twice, but has only been seen two first-pitch balls. The Giants pumped strikes at him, or he swung at bad pitches. He has put the ball in play eight times, but only once to the outfield, grounding out to the infield in seven instances. He's gone opposite field (the pop up to 1st) once.

Pence traditionally starts the season slow. March/April is the lowest OPS split throughout the season (.254/.299/.391). It jumps up dramatically in May for his career (.358/.415/.561). Is Pence pressing? After three games, it looks like it, but it could just be that Pence is a slow-starter in a season where the Astros really need him to get off to a good start.

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