Too often for those of you who live in the Eastern or Central time zones, ball scores and box scores from teams in the West simply are not available for a couple of days in the local newspapers. In the case of USA Today, it may not show up until Monday’s edition. Nothing that finishes past 8PM in the West rarely makes the Eastern or Midwestern papers.
That’s a shame because there are a number of things that are happening in the West this season that are really exciting stories. There’s a kid who was just called up for the Dodgers this past week who is leading off, becoming one of only two players ever to hit 4 home runs in their first 5 games and is batting .435. His name: Puig…Yasiel Puig.
Then there is a fellow from the Valley of the Sun who is making everyone understand that this is the cornerstone of the Arizona franchise. And his team is leading the Western Division of the National League. His name is Goldie: Paul Goldschmidt.
It seemed nearly improbable that the San Francisco Giants would pitch to Paul Goldschmidt in the bottom of the 8th on Friday evening. They had just relieved a masterful Matt Cain for Jeremy Affeldt and proceeded to pitch to the National League’s RBI leader and potential MVP with runners on 1st and 2nd base. Miguel Montero was in the on deck circle. Montero was suffering with a .199 batting average and surely the Giants would pitch to Goldschmidt but with great care, probably walking him to load the bases and with a one run lead, hope that Miguel would hit into a double play.
But just when you think you have this game figured out, baseball managers more times than not, have brain cramps. Bruce Bochy, raise your hand.
On a 1-2 pitch, instead of tempting the odds, Affeldt released the pitch and (cue up the ‘The Natural‘ soundtrack) over the right centerfield fence the fastball landed in D’Back Heaven. Goldie then led the National League in RBI’s with 57 and the Diamondbacks padded their first place position in the Western Division.
Goldschmidt is batting .327, 74 hits, 15 home runs and 58 RBI’s.
This is the third season for the 25-year-old first baseman of the D’Backs, who came up with the team on August 1, 2011. The numbers he is putting up is no fluke. He led the minors in home runs before he was called up (30) and in his first game, coincidently against the Giants and Tim Lincecum, he blasted his first home run. Last night he batted in his 58 RBI which was the eighth straight game in which he has driven in a run, tieing the Diamondback’s record set by St. Luis Emilio Gonzalez (his miracle came on that beautiful November evening 2001, driving in the World Series, game 7 winning run off of New York Yankees great Mariano Rivera).
Paul Goldschmidt is the real deal. For all of you back East, put the name Goldschmidt on your All-Star ballot. He’ll be this years National League MVP early season leader.