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Gonzalez is a star in MLB and world-class competition. Fans of multiple teams – even rivals – love him. Teammates and opposing pitchers respect him. The man’s personal home run routines even show up in video games.
All of this was earned, in much the same way that he’s earned his bad-ass lieutenant’s credentials in the Dodgers clubhouse – by going out there and getting the job done. At the age of 33, Gonzalez has played in every game this season. Since day one of the 2016 campaign, he has quietly and consistently been the Butter and Eggs man for the Dodgers.
Chase Utley is getting a lot of Dodgers Nation love because of his outstanding defense and hot bat. Yasiel Puig is taking all the screen time with his unbelievable plays in the field, and Justin Turner is being immortalized as a chia pet. All of that aside, make no mistake about it, this team has climbed to the top of the NL West on the shoulders of Adrian Gonzalez.
The same thing happened last season when he came out of Spring Training like gang busters. Gonzo was unconscious. He was hitting home runs almost every night, and setting major league records to boot.
This year, the home run power, while not gone, has been a bit subdued. That said, he has quietly been taking care of business daily. I clicked on the Dodgers’ ESPN stats page to check on team leaders, and who’s ever-lovin’ smile do you think is splashed in photos across the leader’s stats line? Yup, you know who.
Adrian Gonzalez is leading the Dodgers in batting average (.351), home runs (3, and tied with Joc Pederson), On Base Percentage (.417), hits (26), and the big one, the one that is the reason Vin Scully named him the Butter and Eggs man, RBI’s (15).
Time and time again, when the Dodgers needed a clutch hit and Gonzalez was at the plate, the man delivered. With Captain Clutch on crutches, Adrian Gonzalez has become El Capitan Clutch. Need a key hit in a big situation? Need some runners driven in? Gonzalez has consistently come through in every series this year.
That’s why it’s so hard for manager Dave Roberts to take Gonzalez’s bat out of the lineup and give him a rest. Sit Adrian and you risk losing out on two or more precious runs – and the Dodgers’ pitching staff needs all the runs it can get.
So go ahead and wave bananas around. Adrian Gonzalez will steadily continue to make deliveries.