There weren’t a lot of reasons to try and build an offense around Hunter Pence in the first place. Sure, the main reason was “because we have to,” but Hunter just isn’t the highly functioning RBI machine from which an offensive powerhouse grows. He’s a free-swinging chaotician, and that’s not really a word, and it’s scary how apt it remains despite nonexistence.
That said, Phillies broadcasters couldn’t stop themselves from gushing over the balls he’d hit in BP. Some of those days, he’d come up to bat and they’d spin yarns over the length of some of his pregame bombs. Some clattered off the empty seats on the 100 level; others were found embedded in the skulls of formerly migrating ducks. The point is, the power was in there. It just wasn’t spilling out as freely come game time.
But there Hunter was in the clean up spot, in a lineup minus Ryan and Chase, until yesterday, when he wasn’t anymore. The last attempt at RBI has been erased from the lineup card due to a shoulder injury he got last week while performing on a defensive play that at the time everybody thought was neat.
“Yes!” the Phillies video guy said, quietly pumping his fist to himself. “Now I’ll have something to play everytime we need a Hunter Pence clip for the next two weeks!”
Or no, it was on a play against the Padres where he dove to stop a Nick Hundley base hit and missed. Charlie Manuel later explained that he “probably shouldn’t have” done that.
Or maybe it was when he was doing those goofy old-timey calisthenics where he extends his arms horizontally and walks around the diamond, bringing his knees all the way to his chest and squawking like the birdman from your nightmares. It doesn’t matter. The Phillies lineup is without its last source of power, who was underperforming at the time, so it really probably won’t be that different. I mean they still exploded for five runs last night. In the ninth inning, while down by nine. Which is the most promise they’ve shown in weeks.
So, in this time without Hunter Pence (he’s listed as day-to-day), let us remember the very recent words of Hunter Pence.
"“We have to stay strong within and keep pushing, keep attacking and keep believing that we are going to hit better than we are hitting.”—Hunter Pence"
We have to.