Giants go up in the West by two games after a stirring win in Philadelphia. Madison Bumgarner was dazzling and Hunter Pence delivered the big hit in the 9th to plate the go-ahead runs. Phillies über-closer Jonathan Papelbon has to be wondering who the hell these guys in orange and black are after yielding soul-crushing 9th-inning extra-base hits on consecutive nights. Oh, they are just Buster Posey and Hunter Pence, nobody special.
Hunter Pence, according to FanGraphs, has piled up 4.1 WAR and leads the team by a wide margin. He's listed as 9th in the majors but the two fellows at #8 (Paul Goldschmidt) and #7 (Adam Jones) are in a tie with him. The only other NLers in the top tier are Troy Tulowitzki (5.1) and Andrew McCutcheon (4.5). Pence is a serious NL MVP candidate. There's no doubt he's the team MVP, and we don't need no steenkeen saber-stats to tell us that. Pence was the best player on the team last season as well. Currently he leads the league in games, plate appearances, at-bats, hits and runs scored. Funny, none of the defensive metrics seem to like his glove work. As much as I enjoy learning more about baseball by diving into the new statistics, I've yet to find a reliable fielding scheme. Pence is a great fielder and is right up there in PhoneCo prowess with Nate Schierholtz and Jose Cruz, Jr. Remember when he signed his contract and all the buzz was about "overpaying" him? Sheesh, the guy is worth every nickel!
Madison Bumgarner is of course the leader in pitching WAR with 2.4 and also rates 0.8 WAR as a hitter! A .500 slugging percentage will do that. He sits at #22 in that category for MLB but 6th in the NL behind Zimmerman, Cueto, Strasburg, Wainwright and Kershaw. Lofty company, eh?
Tim Hudson takes the ball this morning as the Giants look for a sweep. LA is traveling to San Francisco for the big showdown this weekend.