Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies used what might have been a humble brag to describe how he goes about his baseball business:
"I'm a guy that doesn't really play for records. They just happen," Gonzalez said [as quoted by the Denver Post].
When he's going like this, records seem likelier to happen around Gonzalez, who tied a major-league mark with his fourth straight home run in as many at-bats Thursday night. Gonzalez hit three homers in his final three at-bats Wednesday, then went deep against right-hander Bud Norris of the Houston Astros in the first inning Thursday at Coors Field. The Rockies won 11-5.
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The Associated Press reports it was the 22nd time a major leaguer homered in four consecutive plate appearances and the 38th time over four straight at-bats. Albert Pujols did it previously in 2006. The Astros prudently prevented Gonzalez's opportunity to make it five homers in five straight plate appearances by intentionally walking him in the bottom of the second inning.
Gonzalez hit a double to shallow left in the fifth and he finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs and a stolen base. Over five games since Sunday, Gonzalez has gone 13 for 22 with with six homers, three doubles, nine runs scored and 10 RBIs. He might have NL Player of the Week locked up. Overall, he's batting .332/.401/.653, with the top slugging percentage in the league, along with the most total bases, runs and RBIs.
When Gonzalez gets hot, he seems to burn hotter than anyone else is capable. That playoff series against the Phillies in 2009, for one, comes to mind. Well, look out! Hot CarGo, comin' through!
Rockies beat reporter Troy Renck of the Post says the 26-year-old Gonzalez is genius-like when he's right at the plate:
Remember that scene from "Good Will Hunting" when the young janitor played by Matt Damon solved an impossible math equation left on a the chalkboard?
That's where CarGo is in his career — starting to figure things out. When you combine his athletic ability with a mushrooming baseball IQ, history is left to shiver.
Gonzalez finished third in NL MVP voting in 2010, but he has refined his game since then. His walks are up, his strikeouts are down and he's hitting more for extra bases, including a home run every 13.6 at-bats so far. His secondary average of .474 would easily be a career best.
"When I won the batting title in 2010, I was swinging at everything," Gonzalez admitted. "I have a really good swing. When the ball is close to the plate, I know I can reach any ball inside or outside. I am just more disciplined and seeing more pitches."
The Rockies overall season needs one of those famous Colorado rallies to get right. They're 10 1/2 games out of first in the NL West and Troy Tulowitzki is banged up. It might not be ideal conditions for Gonzalez, who probably prefers to win games like most other players, but the best thing Coors Field has going for it right now is Gonzalez, chasing the kind of records that "just happen."