The Reds are bad, and the Dodgers just clobbered them. As a part of that clobbering, Adrian Gonzalez socked three dingers. Here, you can watch them all! Each is impressive in its own way, I suppose. They’re most impressive as a group.
There was a time when Gonzalez’s power was absent. He hit three home runs in April. He hit three home runs, combined, in May and June. The fairly obvious culprit was a back injury, and it takes no imagination at all to figure out how an achy back could affect a swing. Gonzalez got some treatment. He insisted his back felt better. The numbers still didn’t quite show up.
Now they’re showing up. From the looks of things, Gonzalez is indeed healthy again, and it simply took him a short stretch to re-find what previously had made him successful. Adrian Gonzalez is looking like Adrian Gonzalez again. The most compelling evidence is probably what follows, as drawn from Baseball Savant. Here are nearly two years of Gonzalez’s batted balls, as tracked by Statcast. This plot shows rolling average launch angles.
That dip is impossible to miss, as an injured and compromised Gonzalez plummeted toward 0. He’s reversed that, again successfully putting batted balls in the air. And he’s once more hitting with authority. Here’s a rolling-average plot of hard-hit rate, and this doesn’t include Monday’s game, not that it would make a huge difference:
Gonzalez is getting his swing back, and he’s also showing a better ability to hit the ball hard to right. Of course, at his best, he’s been more of an all-fields threat — and Monday, he pulled two homers while sending another the other way. I know it was a day game in Cincinnati against the Reds, but big-league homers are big-league homers. Gonzalez can hit them again, and he can do other things, and suddenly he’s up to a 123 wRC+. That’s in line with where he’s been for a while.
The Dodgers are still playing without Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers are still winning without Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers, of course, would love Kershaw back, but since the All-Star break, Gonzalez has been a key part of what’s been the best offense in the National League. Kershaw’s important. He’s pretty far from being everything.
Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.