As recently as last week Adrian Gonzalez’s lack of homers was making headlines, with Terry Francona speculating that neck problems were to blame for the power slump, Gonzalez later downplaying that notion, and some people even suggesting that participating in the Home Run Derby was the culprit.
Suddenly it’s no longer even an issue.
Gonzalez hit just one homer in the span of 179 plate appearances from July 8 to August 22, including 22 straight games without a long ball, but he went deep twice last night against the Rangers and has now homered five times in the past three games.
Before this week’s power outburst Gonzalez had a total of five homers in his last 60 games, although he also hit .344 with an .898 OPS during that time to make the lack of pop much less of a concern.
Overall this season Gonzalez has hit .348 with 23 homers and a .975 OPS in 128 games, which is good for an adjusted OPS+ of 162 (on a scale where 50 is Jeff Mathis, 100 is average, and 200 is Babe Ruth). Gonzalez’s adjusted OPS+ in his final two seasons with the Padres was 157. Moving from Petco Park to Fenway Park has boosted Gonzalez’s raw numbers and hitting in the middle of the Red Sox’s lineup has inflated his RBI total, but the in-context production remains nearly the same. New ballpark, new lineup, same great hitter.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.
The Braves have traded pitchers Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez to the Rangers, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. The Rangers are sending 21-year-old infielder Travis Demeritte to the Braves, per MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.
Harrell, 31, has made five starts for the Braves this season, posting a 3.38 ERA with a 21/12 K/BB ratio in 29 1/3 innings. The rest of his season has been spent at the minor leagues, including Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo with the Tigers, as well as Triple-A Gwinnett with the Braves.
Alvarez, 27, has an even 3.00 ERA with a 28/5 K/BB ratio in 15 innings of relief for the Braves. He throws from the left side so he’ll give a particular boost to the Rangers’ bullpen when needed.
Demeritte was taken in the first round — 30th overall — by the Rangers in the 2013 draft and was considered the Rangers’ 20th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. This year, with Single-A High Desert, he has hit .272/.352/.583 with 25 home runs and 59 RBI in 378 plate appearances. He has played second base almost exclusively, but has also logged time at shortstop and third base in his minor league career.
Harrell will be arbitration eligible for the first time after the season. Alvarez has accrued only 61 days of service time.