Seems he’s going to need a new approach for 2014.
On a night when shortstop Hanley Ramirez was giving them a scare when he left the game with an injured thumb and starter Paul Maholm was turning in a top-notch outing on the mound, Gonzalez hit his eighth home run of the season.
That leads the National League. Last year Gonzalez did not hit his eighth home run until June 3. At this rate it’s going to be difficult for him to continue trotting out the unimpressed-self routine.
Gonzalez also had a run-scoring sacrifice and leads the Dodgers with 22 runs batted in.
Maholm gave the Dodgers an impressive start, even if it might be his last for awhile. Maholm would prefer to start, but with Clayton Kershaw due off the disabled list soon, Maholm appears the odd man out.
The Dodgers have to decide whether Kershaw needs one more rehab outing or is ready to rejoin the rotation next week. Either way, Maholm’s current stint in the rotation appears to be drawing to an end.
Saturday he went seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out three and kept the Rockies off-balanced most of the night.
The Rockies were the first to score Saturday, putting a run across in the third on an RBI single by Brandon Barnes.
The Dodgers, however, struck back with three in the bottom of the inning. After Dee Gordon tripled to center and Yasiel Puig walked, Ramirez grounded out to score Gordon, with Puig hustling into third. The Gonzalez sacrifice scored Puig to put the Dodgers up and then Matt Kemp homered just beyond the glove of a leaping Barnes in right.
Ramirez did not return to the field to start the fourth inning. The Dodgers said he had a bruised right thumb and called his status day to day.
The Dodgers added single runs in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings. Puig singled in the fourth-inning run and Gonzalez added his solo home run in the fifth. Puig also doubled in a run in the eighth, but cost the Dodgers another run when he tried to take third on a Juan Uribe fly to right and was thrown out, negating Gordon scoring on what could have been a sacrifice fly.
Chris Withrow threw an interesting top of the eighth inning, walking the bases loaded with one out but then striking Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki.
Brian Wilson, however, continued to struggle. He walked his only two batters in the ninth inning, and even with a four-run lead, Manager Don Mattingly wasn't in the mood to be patient. He lifted Wilson and brought in closer Kenley Jansen to finish. It was Jansen's major league-leading 16th appearance.
Jansen gave up a bloop single and a groundout that allowed one run to score.