Gonzalez Leads Dodgers Into First Place
April 23, 2015
By Steven Lieberman
Dodgers’ first baseman Adrian Gonzalez had his 13-game hitting streak halted on Sunday against the Rockies, but the Dodgers improved their win-streak to seven games with a 7-0 shutout, thanks to starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy.
They moved into sole possession of first place in the NL West.
The win gave the Dodgers a record of 9-3 (8-1 at home) and many variables have contributed to their success, especially the performance of Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, the left-handed power-hitter and so far the team’s offensive MVP, is the crème that has risen to the top among a solid roster of players. Here are some of his accomplishments so far this season.
Through 12 games, he has a batting average of .415 (23 hits out of 51 at-bats) with five homers, 13 runs scored, and 14 RBI (the most in the major leagues). Three of his four-baggers came in one game against his former team, the Padres, on April 8 at Dodger Stadium.
Gonzalez, who is the reigning NL Player of the Week, and his 23 hits through 11 games ties for the most in franchise history with Eric Karros (1995). He also leads the league with eight doubles.
“We expect him to drive in runs if we got guys on base, all the time,” manager Don Mattingly said of Gonzalez, who led the majors with 116 RBI last year. “Last year was the same, and this year he’s picked up right where he left off.”
After the game Mattingly continued to extol the virtues of Gonzalez.
“He is consistent, has a good game plan going to the plate, and is able to read the pitchers well.”
Gonzalez, a four-time All-Star who turns 33 next month, also spoke about his accomplishments and what the key variables have been to his success.
“I’m looking for fastballs and hitting fastballs,” he said. “I read a manual on each starting pitcher before the game (as he points to a stack of manuals in his locker). We also have a deep lineup which helps.”
There was a concern before the season started that the Dodgers would have trouble producing runs, especially home-runs, but now have a league-leading 17 homers.
Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis gave credit to their hitting coach, Mark McGwire, who gives the team a good game-plan against the opposing pitcher before each game.
Gonzalez has been a good student and his investment in preparation for each game has paid dividends so far.