Don Mattingly calls Adrian Gonzalez the team’s MVP
CHICAGO — Asked recently who’s been the Dodgers’ most valuable player this season, Manager Don Mattingly didn’t say Hanley Ramirez or Yasiel Puig.
Instead, he pointed to Adrian Gonzalez.
“Hanley’s been hot, but Adrian’s been there the whole season for us,” Mattingly said. “He doesn’t get the same attention because he’s kind of been consistent.”
Which is fine with Gonzalez, who said he doesn’t mind attention, but added, “I don’t crave it.”
Of the Dodgers’ 107 games, Gonzalez has played in 104, the most on the team. He and Andre Ethier are the Dodgers’ only core position players who haven’t spent any time on the disabled list or in the minor leagues.
Gonzalez, batting .299, leads the team with 66 runs batted in, including one he drove in in the Dodgers’ 6-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night. He has hit .300 or higher in three of the four months this season.
“If you talk to the hitting coaches, I don’t get caught up in what I did yesterday or that I’m one for my last 10,” Gonzalez said. “I could care less about that. Every at-bat’s one at-bat. It’s the same if I’m 10 for my last 10. For me, it’s all about that one at-bat I have coming up. So, in my mind, I’m never in a slump and I’m never in a hot streak.”
While Gonzalez has maintained a level head, he hasn’t been shy about celebrating on the field. When coming up with a big hit, he uses his hands to mimic an explosion, something he said he picked up from third baseman Juan Uribe.
“Almost every team is doing something,” Gonzalez said. “We were struggling at the time and we wanted to get some energy going. It’s always good to do stuff like that for energy. We made a point to have more energy, being more involved. It’s helped.”
When Gonzalez came to Los Angeles last year, he had a reputation as being an unemotional player. But Gonzalez said, “If you ask my teammates, I’m not the guy that people portray. I’m always very loud in the dugout. Obviously, the media’s not in the dugout, so they wouldn’t know that. That’s something that has been misinterpreted about me.”
Mattingly praises Kershaw
Mattingly played in the major leagues for 14 seasons. He has managed or coached for 10 more.
But he said he has never been around a pitcher as dominant as Clayton Kershaw.
“Kersh, at this point, is just different,” Mattingly said.
Kershaw was 4-1 with a 1.34 earned-run average in July. He lowered his season ERA to 1.87. No Dodgers starter has finished with a sub-2.00 ERA since Sandy Koufax posted a 1.73 in 1966.
Kershaw has walked only 1.9 batters per nine innings, a career low. That has helped him pitch seven or more innings in 19 of his 23 starts.
“For me, that’s when you become that true ace,” Mattingly said. “Every time they pitch, you go, ‘This guy’s going to get us deep. He’s going to give our bullpen off for the most part.’”
Carlos Marmol returned to Wrigley Field for the first time since the relief pitcher was designated for assignment by the Cubs on June 25.
“I’m with the Dodgers, I’m in first place,” he said.
The Cubs are second from the bottom in the National League Central.
Marmol was booed by his home fans in his final days as a Cub. Asked how he thought he would be received if he took the mound at Wrigley Field as a visitor, Marmol replied, “I never worry about the fans.”
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