Dodgers have found a savoir in first baseman Adrian Gonzalez
Whatever Don Mattingly the Los Angeles Dodgers manager wants Adrian Gonzalez to do, the first baseman has been happy to oblige this season.
On Monday, Memorial Day, nearly 50,000 fans filed into Dodger Stadium to honor former astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin and watch the battle of Los Angeles between their Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels.
The Dodgers had not accomplished much for Aldrin or their fans until Gonzalez decided to take the game into his own hands.
When Gonzalez had finished, the Dodgers had won 8-7 snapping the Angels eight-game winning streak. The Dodger first baseman had four of the Dodgers’ 13 hits on the night and scored four runs.
Gonzalez helped his team return from a deficit of five runs helping exhilarate the team and Mattingly.
The Dodgers season thus far has not gone as planned and Mattingly has been under a great deal of pressure from ownership because of all the money the new owners invested in the team late last season and during the offseason. Los Angeles is currently in last place in the NL West 7 ½ games behind the front running Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dodger first baseman had four very good at bats on the night and leads the team in five important offensive statistics. Gonzalez leads the team in batting average at .337, in home runs with 6, runs batted in with 37, on base percentage at .395 and hits with 55.
Kemp has struggled and Mattingly and the Dodgers organization is thankful for the presence of Gonzalez. The power hitter is among the leaders in the National League in on-base percentage at .395 and slugging at .515.
The Dodgers are thankful for the blockbuster trade last season with the Red Sox that brought them not only Gonzalez but also, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto. Gonzalez, Crawford and Punto have been the position players that have produced best for the Dodgers this season.
Teammate Zack Greinke said he could not remember seeing Gonzalez not swing well. He said he has expected this sort of output from Gonzalez, as others expect it from Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout or Ryan Braun.
Gonzalez has also helped Kemp. He knows what Kemp has been through trying to bust out of a funk that has lasted the first 49 games of the season. Kemp is being booed at home for striking out, but Gonzalez knows how talented Kemp is and how hard he works.
Until Kemp finds his way and his bat returns to what it was nearly two seasons ago, the Dodgers will be relying heavily on their veteran first baseman Gonzalez.
If the first 49 games of this season are any indication, it certainly looks like Gonzalez will be paying big dividends through season.