Thursday, August 4, 2011

Good Will Hunter: Phillies add Pence, protects title chances

Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard steps to the plate in the top of the first inning with his team up 1-0. With a runner on second, Howard gets a series of off-speed pitches before grounding one weakly to second. Next up to bat was the newly acquired all star Hunter Pence. Pence rips a fastball into the gap for an RBI double. With Pence hitting behind him, Howard homered in two of his next three at bats. That’s what Pence is. He’s lineup protection. I grew downright irritated listening to scouts and so-called experts tell the entire Philadelphia area what Hunter Pence isn’t. Leading up to the MLB trade deadline all I heard was questions about his bat speed, his low walk totals, and his tendency to strike out often.  Luckily the Phillies only care about what he is and what he can do. The facts are he’s a two –time all star with a .290 career average. He provides the right-handed bat and protection for Howard that the Phillies sorely needed. He is a hardnosed player with a style that reflects the city. After top prospect Domonic Brown’s progress slowed, the team had to make a move to improve their championship chances. With the team’s expectations, they couldn’t afford to let Brown play through growing pains.  This is a win now team, in a win now city, with win now fans. This organization has a World Series or bust mentality. The team improved its championship chances by adding some much needed protection to their lineup. That’s exactly what Pence is. Good old-fashion protection.  Philadelphia style.

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