Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gonzalez Hits For Cycle With Walkoff Bomb

On November 12th, 2008 Rockies manager Dan O'Dowd frustrated his fan base, trading away club hero Matt Holliday to the Oakland A's for a displaced closer, a fifth starter and a prospect who had struggled in his brief time in the big leagues.

That prospect was some kid named Carlos Gonzalez.

All he has done is make the entire Rockies fan base completely forget about Holliday.

On Saturday night, the Rockies and Gonzalez completed a perfect summer night at Coors Field with a no-doubt home run to the third deck in right field. His second home run of the week to the third deck. This blast landed 462 feet away from home plate.

The walk-off home run completed a 6-5 victory over the Cubs and moved the Rockies to within seven games of the Padres for first place in the National League West.

The home run was monumental for more than just the fact that it completed a huge win for the Rockies, it completed a cycle for the outfielder. Gonzalez hit a single in the first inning, a triple off the top of the wall in the third inning and a double in the sixth inning. To complete the cycle Gonzalez needed Rafael Betancourt to give up a game-tying three run home run to Derrek Lee in the previous inning.

Gonzalez, possibly the biggest All-Star snub, continues to show how much he has matured as a big leaguer. The lefty hits better off of lefties, bucking the trend of traditional baseball. He covers the plate as well as anyone in the game and can pull the ball even when it is all the way off the outside corner. However, when most players pull that pitch they roll over and ground out. Gonzalez is different, he gets many of his base hits up the middle.

Where most fans thought that the A's got the better end of the deal in the Holliday trade, the truth has become extremely evident. The Rockies absolutely fleeced Oakland, landing not only a closer in Huston Street, but a future star in the league in Carlos Gonzalez.

The confidence that Gonzalez shows at the plate tells the whole story. Instead of hoping to accomplish something good at the plate, the slugger oozes confidence. It is easy to tell that he expects to get the job done.

If the Rockies want to climb back into the race they must take advantage on days in which the Padres lose. Going from nine games back two days ago to seven games back after Saturday's walk-off win makes all the difference in the world. The club now has two full months, plus one weekend in October to make the difficult climb.

Suddenly a team that looked like a corpse a week ago is as alive as it ever has been after two energy-filled games at Coors Field.

The Rockies go for a sweep of the Cubs on Sunday, a game that has the potential to get the Rockies off to a good start in August. If the Marlins are able to defeat the Padres again and the Rockies complete the sweep, suddenly six games back seems like a much smaller hill to climb than the Pikes Peak-like nine game deficit Colorado was starring at coming into the weekend.

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