One of the things people have always marveled about with Adrian Gonzalez is the fact that he has been able to hit 30+ homers in four consecutive seasons with the Padres, despite playing half of his games in one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in baseball. So, what can we expect now that A-Gone is about to be set loose?
Well, let’s start by looking at his career home-away splits:
Home: .263/.360/.440 with 61 home runs, 214 RBI and an 800 OPS (.279/.383/.438 with 11 homers, 42 RBI and an 821 OPS in 2010)
Away: .303/.376/.568 with 107 home runs, 311 RBI and a 943 OPS (.315/.402/.578 with 20 homers, 59 RBI and a 980 OPS in 2010)
This is the primary reason why the rest of the American League should be scared. Keep in mind, those home-away splits include 29 games with the Rangers in 2004 and 2005. Factoring in only PETCO Park, he has a .267/.367/.442 batting line to go along with an 808 OPS.
Fenway Park isn’t exactly a home-run haven, but it will certainly be a more fair environment, as Bill James Park Indices routinely ranks PETCO Park as the worst park for a left-handed hitter. Gonzalez’s natural inside-out swing should play brilliantly in Boston. His numbers should also see a nice boost thanks to playing plenty of road games at Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards and Rogers Centre, which cater to left-handed power.
So, what can we expect? Assuming he doesn’t have any setbacks with his shoulder, I’d say 40 home runs is a fair expectation for a full season away from PETCO. With a strong (and hopefully healthy) supporting cast in Boston, he also has a very good chance of topping his previous career-high of 119 RBI back in 2008.
The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.
Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.
The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.
After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.
Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:
The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.
The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.