Don Baylor is out as the Rockies’ hitting coach, which at first glance may seem strange after Colorado scored the third-most runs in the league this season. However, thanks to playing half their games at Coors Field the Rockies always score a ton of runs. In fact, they’ve finished among the league’s top five in 17 straight years.
To account for their hitter-friendly ballpark a stat like adjusted OPS+ is more useful than raw totals and the Rockies ranked just 10th among NL teams in OPS+ this season after ranking fourth in 2009. Away from Coors Field they hit just .226/.303/.351, ranking second-worst in both OPS and runs on the road.
On the other hand, both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki have thrived under Baylor’s instruction and it’s tough to blame him for Todd Helton getting old. Beyond that, Carney Lansford was fired after serving as the Giants’ hitting coach in 2008 and 2009 because San Francisco ranked 15th and 13th in runs.
Baylor has said that he’d like to manage again and Cito Gaston recommended him to the Blue Jays as his replacement, but there hasn’t been much talk of him being a top candidate for any openings yet. Colorado has reportedly offered him another job within the organization.
Entering Thursday’s NLCS Game 5, Dodgers outfielder Enrique Hernandez had never hit a home run nor even driven in a run in the playoffs in his four-year career. He had homered twice in a regular season game just twice and his career-high for RBI in a game was four.
Hernandez hit three home runs and knocked in seven runs to help power the Dodgers past the Cubs 11-1 to win the National League pennant and punch their ticket to the World Series. His first homer was a solo homer to center field in the second inning off of starter Jose Quintana. He blasted a grand slam to right field off of Hector Rondon in the fourth, then tacked on a two-run blast in the ninth inning off of Mike Montgomery to make it 11-1.
Hernandez is the 10th player to hit three home runs in a postseason game. Jose Altuve, of course, did it two weeks ago in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Red Sox. Before Altuve, Pablo Sandoval (2012), Albert Pujols (2011), and Adrian Beltre (2011) were the last players to accomplish the feat.
Hernandez’s seven RBI set a new National League record for a postseason game. Only four other players — Troy O’Leary, John Valentin, Mo Vaughn, and Edgar Martinez — accomplished the feat.
No one has hit three home runs and knocked in seven-plus in a game… until Hernandez. He certainly picked a good time to break out.