How do you overlook a guy who leads his team in most every offensive category?
That should be nearly impossible, yet it's happening with the Dodgers, who are currently steamrolling teams. The cameras find Hanley Ramirez absolutely hurting baseballs. They close in on the hyper energy of multitalented Yasiel Puig and watch the form of Cy Young pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
But what about Adrian Gonzalez? He just happens to lead the team in hits (126), homers (16), RBIs (72), runs (54) -- and general lack of credit.
Not that Gonzalez claims to be concerned.
“I’m not here to worry about who’s getting credit or not, just help the team win,” Gonzalez said. “It’s the last thing on my mind.”
Gonzalez has consistently helped the Dodgers win more than any other player. He’s played in all but three of their 116 games. He’s hitting .447 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
He drove in the tying run in Friday’s dramatic four-run, ninth-inning comeback and then scored the winning run. Then he hit a two-run homer in the first inning Saturday to send the Dodgers on the way to their 5-0 victory over the Rays.
“His approach is sound,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “Adrian is a pro. You wouldn’t catch Adrian going up there without having a plan. He pretty much knows what a guy does. He walks into the box and knows what he wants to do.”
Gonzalez has almost played a game with reporters this season, claiming he’s lost his power since 2010 shoulder surgery. Having once hit 40 homers in a season, he seems unimpressed with his current total.
“Sixteen’s not that many,” he said. “I’m just trying to help the team win.”
He’s a bit of a grinder, still capable of power, still very much capable of changing the outcome of a game. Ramirez and Puig are flash and excitement, Gonzalez the calm in the storm.
“He’s just kind of been there for us,” Mattingly said.