Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford providing the pop for Dodgers

6 Comments

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.

Bryce Harper defeats Kyle Schwarber 19-18 to win the 2018 Home Run Derby

Rob Carr/Getty Images
7 Comments

Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.

Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.

Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.

As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.