Adrian Gonzalez is not exactly what you would call media friendly. He can treat a softball baseball question like a deep inquiry to his personal life. He can be curt and off-putting and act like he cannot wait for the interview to be over.
So the media doesn’t flock to his locker in the clubhouse, which may partially explain why there are not reams of positive stories written about Gonzalez, and why he is not more popular in this city.
He’s a four-time All-Star, playing for one of Los Angeles’ most popular teams and one of their best players. He should be hugely popular.
But he’s not flashy like Yasiel Puig, as ultra-athletic as Matt Kemp, as dominant as Clayton Kershaw.
What he is, though, is remarkably consistent. Which would explain why he almost quietly has driven in the second-highest number of runs (88) in the National League this season.
“As far as consistency, I don't think we've had anybody quite like him,” said Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly. “Matt's had some big years, Dre's (Andre Ethier) had some big years. But in terms of a day-in, day-out kind of guy, Adrian is probably the most consistent.”
Asked if there was any key to his consistency, Gonzalez said: “Being in the lineup every day.”
Yeah, best to leave the praising to others. Push him a tad, pointing out there are plenty everyday players who aren’t approaching their seventh season driving in 100 runs, he opens up to say:
“It’s about having a consistent approach and not trying to do too much,” Gonzalez said. “There’s no formula.”
Gonzalez, 32, approaches the game with intelligence and patience. He understands game situations. Whether the moment calls for a sacrifice fly, or simple single or allows him to swing away to connect on a three-run homer -- all of which he did Saturday in collecting five RBIs -- he typically responds.
This hasn’t been a perfect season for Gonzalez. He’s hitting just .270 (22 points below his career average). And a left-handed hitter who has always taken pride in his ability to hit left-handers, he is dealing with .185 average against southpaws this season.
Yet he continues to produce, leading a Dodgers team that offensively has been on the disappointing side. He leads the Dodgers in games (128), doubles (33), homers (18) and RBI. The hard hat goes on and he’s off to work, driving in runs.
“He's … kind of grinder,” Mattingly said. “Picks up one [RBI], picks up two, obviously [Saturday] he picks up five.”
And picks up enough to be second in the league.