“Late Night” Lamonte Wade Jr. was back in the Bay this weekend after making his season debut coming off the Injured List from a knee injury. His addition is much needed for the Giants if they want to get back to their 107-win form from last season.
Wade Jr. earned his nickname by becoming one of the most clutch players in the Majors last season. When most of the baseball world was in bed dreaming about the next day during the end of west coast baseball games, Wade was putting on a show when it mattered most–winning time.
Tonight was LaMonte Wade Jr.'s 6th game-tying or go-ahead hit in the 9th inning this season for the @SFGiants.
That's the most by any MLB player in a season in the last 40 years.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) October 1, 2021
In the ninth inning Wade posted a batting average of .565, an OPS of 1.409 and drove in 12 runs, eight of which gave his team the lead which had him tied with Silver Slugger Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees for most go-ahead RBI in the eighth inning or later in the Majors.
Wade also hit over .400 with two outs and runners in scoring position last year and may have been the team’s biggest surprise. He saw most of his action against right-handed pitching, finishing the year with a .253 average, .808 OPS, 18 home runs and 56 RBI in over 300 at bats.
Wade went on a rehab stint with Triple A Sacramento before joining the Giants during which he was 7-for-21 with two doubles, a home run, six runs batted in and a .910 OPS.
The Giants officially activated Wade on May 6, which happens to be the same day as the great Willie Mays’ birthday, batting him in the leadoff spot and putting him in right field to open their series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Wade would take on fellow MLBbro and Cardinals flame thrower and former reliever turned starter Jordan Hicks and their first matchup in the box was a scrappy one. It went eight pitches long to begin the game before Wade grounded out to second. He struck out in his next at-bat against Hicks and was lifted for a pinch hitter before what would have been his third appearance.
Wade entered Saturday afternoon’s game as a pinch hitter earning a walk and scoring a run on the way to a 13-7 victory for San Francisco.
An absolute DART from LaMonte Wade Jr. pic.twitter.com/0KjzJu5fCV
— MLB (@MLB) August 15, 2021
The Giants have been one of the more consistent winning teams in the Majors throughout recent years, but most thought they would decline last year after losing future Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochy and bringing in an already aging roster. All that in addition to the super teams built by the Dodgers and Padres, players like Wade Jr. turned out to be the difference in a division that was decided by only one game.
This year the mountain will be even higher for the Giants to climb. His Giants have started slowly compared to their inter-state rivals in Los Angeles, but they will look to heat up after getting one of their main staples back in the lineup.