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.
We all get inspiration from various sources. Sometimes, it comes from a mentor or peer who has excelled in their field. Sometimes, it’s a video of a dog owner dressing up as his golden retriever’s favorite chew toy (just me? Okay).
If you’re Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon, it’s Michael Scott, regional manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin, Inc., founder of the Michael Scott Paper Company, and one-time star of the hit television show Fundle Bundle. At least, that’s what he told the press during the club’s pregame conference on Friday afternoon.
Thankfully, the Cubs don’t have to worry about Maddon emulating the more outlandish behaviors Steve Carell exhibited on The Office. If anything, the praise Michael heaps on himself as the World’s Best Boss could be aptly applied to Maddon’s managerial style — Spencer Gifts mug and all.
People have been drinking in Wrigleyville since before 8am this morning. There are throngs of people out on the streets and packing every bar in the vicinity and it’s still four hours until first pitch. I realize I’m an old man who rarely leaves his home, but that looks exhausting even by the standards of normal degenerates. Be safe, everyone!
As for the game, the Indians are doing it: Carlos Santana is playing left field, keeping his bat and he bat of Mike Napoli in the lineup. I mentioned this morning that Santana has played exactly one game in the outfield in his career, and that that came four years ago. Allow me to reiterate that. And to remind everyone that, in baseball, the ball tends to find you. I can picture a sinking liner to left right now and it’s not a pretty picture. If you’re an Indians fan, pray that I’m wrong, but don’t act like you can’t picture it too.
Of course, this being baseball, he’ll probably rob someone of a homer and hit two himself while Napoli goes for the cycle. Never try to predict this stuff, folks.
1. Carlos Santana (S) LF
2. Jason Kipnis (L) 2B
3. Francisco Lindor (S) SS
4. Mike Napoli (R) 1B
5. Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
6. Lonnie Chisenhall (L) RF
7. Roberto Perez (R) C
8. Tyler Naquin (L) CF
9. Josh Tomlin (R) P
1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
4. Ben Zobrist (S) LF
5. Willson Contreras (R) C
6. Jorge Soler (R) RF
7. Javier Baez (R) 2B
8. Addison Russell (R) SS
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) P