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Enrique Hernandez is a Total Freak, And We All Love it

After Enrique Hernandez batted .190 in 2016 I wondered if he had peaked. Hernandez a Dodgers fan and management favorite rebounded in the following seasons. He posted a 117 OPS + with 21 home runs and a .256/.336/.470 slash line in 2018. Hernandez had been considered a super utility player throughout his playing career with the Dodgers. He’s played every position except for catcher and can slot in at any position at any time all over the diamond. The Dodgers looked at him like a swiss army knife that they could deploy in any way.

Unfortunately for Kike, his below average batting and on-base skills held him back from becoming an everyday player. He’s posted a career .323 on-base percentage and is a lifetime .245 hitter. Those numbers are certainly not good enough to inspire confidence. However his productive season in 2018 changed management’s mind despite his bat disappearing in the postseason. The Dodgers announced that Hernandez would become their regular second baseman this year and Enrique has responded well, opening the 2019 season with a .292/.382/.585 line swatting five home runs with 14 runs batted in. He’s posted a 153 OPS+ while delivering sterling defense at the keystone.

What makes him so special is that every now and then he displays flashes of brilliance. Occasional bursts of incredible talent and power. He does it when the Dodgers need him most. He’s batting .500 (21 for 42) with 4 home runs and 5 doubles against the Dodger’s long time enemy Madison Bumgarner. Who could forget his three home runs against the Cubs in the Dodger’s 2017 NLCS pennant clinching win. Or he’ll make an incredible play in the field ranging hundreds of feet in the air like superman. Those are just a few prime examples of his strange and unique gifts. On Friday night against the Brewers he did it again.

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The Dodgers and Brewers were in a tight game, locked in a 2-2 tie in the top of the eighth inning. Milwaukee had their elite reliever Josh Hader on the mound, but he was wavering. The Dodgers had run his pitch count up and he had issued walks to A.J. Pollock and David Freese. Up stepped Hernandez with two outs and a chance to put the Dodgers in the lead.

The count ran to 0-2 and it’s important to note what opposing hitters had done against Hader historically with the count at 0-2. The long haired relief ace had limited opposing hitters to a .049 (4 for 81) with 62 strikeouts. He had never allowed a home run in an 0-2 count. Generally if Hader gets you down 0-2, you are more than likely out. But even Hader’s excellence was no match for Hernandez’s freaky uncanny ability to rise to the occasion when the Dodgers need him most. Boy did he ever. Hernandez lined that 0-2 pitch over the left center field wall to give the Dodgers a 5-2 lead and silence the Miller Park crowd. It felt like another special moment for Hernandez. Indeed it was.

What that home run told us was that Hader is not some kind of robotic pitching machine. He’s fallible, human and prone to making mistakes just like any other pitcher. He’s not unhittable and the Dodgers are no longer scared of him. It also tells you that Enrique is a special player, one that can come up in the toughest situations against the toughest pitchers and succeed. The guy is a total freak and we all love it.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

8 thoughts on “Enrique Hernandez is a Total Freak, And We All Love it

  1. Nice point Scott. Kiké just has that uncanny ability to hit really tough lefties. I thought it may have been just a Bumgarner thing but maybe it’s more than that.

  2. … and so Kiké sits today.

    OMG… Dodger sluggers stymied by Brew Crew bullpen, lead by bullpen starter Charlie Anderson. Might as well have been Blockhead Charlie Brown….Five innings of 1-hit, shutout baseball. Brew-Pen completes a 2-hit shutout… EMBARRASSING.

    Yelich is a cookie monster. You cannot make mistakes on Yelich because he will not waste the opportunity to cash it in. He devoured those big cookies served up by Ryu… right in his wheelhouse. Should be pitching around him, not serving it up. Whoops, pitch around Yelich, and serve up a big cookie to the .180 Braun…. “That’s the ticket!”

    Don’t know why they had to sit Kiké and Verdugo today. Oh yeah, Always sit the hot bats…. Cool them off “The Dodger Way”.

    JT does not look right…. is something bothering him? Is he hurt?

    Lose tomorrow, and lose the season series.

  3. Lose today and we split on their field. That’s a win.

    Kiké has a career OPS of .762. Not exactly freakish but it’s a 105 OPS+. He’s better than average. And his ability to play multiplayer positions makes him a valuable team player.

    Yelich – high and tight, low and away. Do not hang curves to this guy like Ryu did. In fact, don’t throw him strikes. Miss up and in and down and away. He will swing at pitches off the plate outside. From what I’ve seen he hits everything else.

  4. Sorry Badger,

    Split in MIL is not a win, in my books. They stole 2-3 in Our House. Dodgers lose today, they lose the season series, 3-4.

    Dodgers have to go out and clinch a four game series, and most importantly the season series, before they start fiddling with the lineup. Especially with the Brew Crew opting for a Bullpen game. Dodgers should have pounced on that opportunity.

    Now their backs are against the wall, with an “iffy” Kershaw, and forced to use a “predictably unpredictable” Kelly and “unpredictable” Jansen. All three are known to be vulnerable to serving up the big cookie.

    Why are so many fans satisfied with mediocrity? I don’t understand it? I admit I apparently come from another planet sometimes, but come on…. when is enough going to be enough?

    Just my personal point of view. I’m ready for the barrage of criticisms to come. And I can take it. Bring it on. I will not lose any sleep.

    1. Blue
      You won’t get any criticism from me. I think you are spot on. Many on other sites are really OK with the not winning of a World Series. Not as many here but there are certainly some for sure. Those that are OK with not winning are always OK with the FO and the handling of games. Oh well.

  5. It’s been a simple formula for generations – win at home and split on the road. Of course it’s great to take 3 of 4 against one of the superior teams in the league.

    Why bring up the Word Series? And what Dodger fan anywhere is “ok with losing”? That’s just silly. We all want a championship. First things first. Division. Pennant.

    1. Badger
      Why bring up the World Series? Because that is exactly what all teams play to achieve or at least what we are led to believe. Unfortunately, the Dodgers ownership, and management are OK with not winning it all because if they weren’t they would bring in the necessary players to get the job done. Not all Dodger fans want to win because if they did they would raise hell with an ownership/management team that has the money and the fans to support them and will not put together a team that will win and they know who it will take to get it done. Lastly, we have done the DIvision , Pennant routine twice before and this ownership /management team is satisfied. That is why they gave away Puig, Kemp, Farmer and Wood for nothing. They really did nothing in the off season except for Pollack and his addition will be judged later. Call all this silly if you want but it is what it is.

      1. Ok. That’s a valid take. The results, though impressive, do look like the Kasten Atlanta run.

        I’m just looking down the road to get to the playoffs. While we do appear to be solid favorites in the NL we remain underdogs to the AL. That is going to remain true unless we attain home field in the last series played. And that won’t happen again this year. And as long as the AL has the DH and we don’t, they have a distinct advantage. They all have an extra #3/4 hitter in their lineup. If we are fortunate enough to make it again this year we will be playing a 100 win team, with an extra cleanup hitter in their lineup, and we open up, and close, on their field. I think that’s just how it is.

        Our best opportunity was 2 years ago and we laid a colossal egg in Game 7 at home. The All or Nothing legend of LA was displayed nam omina videre in that series.

        We don’t have the best team in baseball. Not yet anyway. I think it’s Houston. Boston will wake up soon, but this start makes 100 wins more challenging. If the Yankees ever heal up, they will be tough to beat. Currently the Yankees are projected at 93 wins, Houston 97, Boston 88 (I don’t buy that one) and the Dodgers at 95. Those numbers are mercurial of course.

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