The Phillies signed right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a three-year, $12 million contract last August after he defected from his native Cuba and were hoping that he would be prepared to join their active major league roster — preferably as a member of the starting rotation — during the early part of the 2014 season. But it’s almost June and Gonzalez seems only to be taking steps backward.
The hard-throwing 27-year-old did not look very effective this spring in Phillies camp and then came down with shoulder problems in late March. Now, according to Matt Gelb at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Gonzalez is experiencing a bout of dead arm on his minor league rehab assignment with the High-A Clearwater Threshers. He had allowed seven earned runs in 9 1/3 innings over three appearances at Clearwater, so the whole effectiveness things remains an issue beyond the injury stuff.
Gonzalez is heading to Philadelphia this week to meet with club physicians. “Hopefully it’s nothing serious,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Inquirier on Tuesday afternoon.
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. As Jayson Stark points out, Hernandez joins Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Adam Kennedy, and Beltre as players to hit three homers in a series clincher.
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.