Adrian Gonzalez has averaged a homer every 25.1 at-bats in his year and a quarter with the Dodgers. In Wednesday’s Game 5 victory, he hit his second and third in 35 postseason at-bats.
Carl Crawford hit a total of six homers in 435 at-bats in his first year with the Dodgers. On Wednesday, he hit his fourth in 39 postseason at-bats.
It was supposed to be Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig supplying the Dodgers with most of their power this month, but while Ramirez came up big in the NLDS, it’s been Gonzalez, Crawford and Juan Uribe combining for nine of their 11 homers overall. Ramirez hit his lone bomb in Game 2 against the Braves. A.J. Ellis hit the remaining homer in today’s Game 5.
Crawford is the bigger surprise. Of his six homers on the season, four game in April. He hit one in his final 328 regular-season at-bats. But Crawford had shown power in the postseason before, hitting two homers for the Rays in the World Series loss to the Phillies in 2008. Overall, he has seven homers in 122 postseason at-bats, or one every 17.4 at-bats. In the regular season, he’s hit a total of 124 homers in 6,050 at-bats, or one every 48.8 at-bats.
Both Gonzalez and Crawford were, of course, picked up from the Red Sox in last summer’s megadeal, with the Dodgers also getting Josh Beckett and Nick Punto in return for salary relief and prospects. It will be the go-to narrative if the Dodgers and Red Sox happen to advance to the World Series from here. The Red Sox have no one they acquired in the trade on their postseason roster, but they used all that freed up cash to sign free agents like Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew and Jonny Gomes . The Dodgers didn’t get outstanding seasons from either Gonzalez or Crawford, but both were solid enough and they’re making a bigger impact now. Neither team has any regrets at this point.
CC Sabathia‘s contract is set to expire this offseason, but for the long-tenured left-hander, nowhere feels more like home than New York. “I want to see this through,” Sabathia told reporters after a devastating Game 7 loss in the ALCS. “This is where I want to play.” Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman spoke warmly of the veteran starter, but would make no public guarantees that he’d return to the team next spring.
Sabathia, 37, just topped off his 17th season in the big leagues and his eighth career postseason run. He went 14-5 in 27 starts and put up a 3.69 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 148 2/3 innings, good for 1.9 fWAR. He looked solid in the playoffs, too, propelling the team to a much-needed win in Game 5 of the ALDS and returning in the Championship Series with six scoreless innings in Game 3. His season ended on a sour note during Game 7, however. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings against a dynamic Astros’ offense, allowing one run on five hits and three walks and failing to record a single strikeout for the first time in 23 career postseason appearances.
Heading into the 2017 offseason, Sabathia finally arrived at the end of his seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees. While he’s repeatedly expressed a desire to keep pitching, despite rumors that his career might be on the rocks following the diagnosis of a troublesome degenerative knee condition, the decision isn’t his alone to make. Brian Cashman will also be seeking an extension with the Yankees this winter, so it’s difficult to say which impending free agents the club will try to retain — and Sabathia’s name isn’t the only one on that list. If it were up to skipper Joe Girardi, who is awaiting a decision on his own future with the organization, the decision would be a no-brainer. From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
CC will always be special to me because of what he stands for and the great player that he is, the great man that he is,” Girardi said. “The wonderful teammate that he is. How he pulls a team together. He’s as good as I’ve ever been around when it comes to a clubhouse guy, a guy that will take the ball when you’re on a losing streak or that you can count on, and knowing that it could be the possible last time.