- The Diamondbacks acquired J.D. Martinez with sights on a dynamic lineup and a hitter in Martinez who could complement NL MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt. He's done exactly that, and now the D-Backs are rolling toward a date in the NL Wild Card game.
When the Diamondbacks acquired slugger J.D. Martinez from the Tigers on July 19, the Arizona front office likely envisioned a power bat to help protect NL MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt for the team’s first playoff run since 2011. Martinez may not offer much in the way of defense or plate discipline, but he did hit 38 homers for Detroit in 2015 and offered a fearsome option to complement one of the National League’s best players.
On Monday night in Los Angeles, Martinez reminded the baseball world just how terrifying he can be, and why the Diamondbacks might be one of the most lethal teams in baseball once the postseason arrives. The 30-year-old slugger became the 18th player in Major League history to hit four home runs in a game during the Diamondbacks’ 13–0 rout of the struggling Dodgers.
Martinez joined Reds infielder Scooter Gennett, who clubbed four big flies against the Cardinals on June 6, to become the only players to hit four homers in a game this season. He now has 18 home runs since joining Arizona and eight in his last eight games. Martinez is one of the piping hot hitters on a Diamondbacks team that has won 11 games in a row and hasn’t trailed since the second inning during its Aug. 25th matchup against the Giants—now 88 consecutive innings without a deficit.
Hitting four home runs in a game is a historic feat; doing so off of four different pitchers put Martinez in even more exclusive company. Martinez became the first player to complete the feat since Joe Adcock in 1954 (who also did it against the Dodgers). Even better, he hit each of his four home runs—none of which were ever in doubt—to different parts of the ballpark. Here's a list of the 18 players to accomplish the impressive feat:
|Bobby Lowe||May 30, 1894||Beaneaters||Reds|
|Ed Delahanty||July 13, 1896||Phillies||Colts|
|Lou Gehrig||June 3, 1932||Yankees||Athletics|
|Chuck Klein||July 10, 1936||Phillies||Pirates|
|Pat Seerey||July 18, 1948||White Sox||Athletics|
|Gil Hodges||Aug. 31, 1950||Dodgers||Braves|
|Joe Adcock||July 31, 1954||Braves||Dodgers|
|Rocky Colavito||June 10, 1959||Indians||Orioles|
|Willie Mays||April 30, 1961||Giants||Braves|
|Mike Schmidt||April 17, 1976||Phillies||Cubs|
|Bob Horner||July 6, 1986||Braves||Expos|
|Mark Whiten||Sept. 7, 1993||Cardinals||Reds|
|Mike Cameron||May 2, 2002||Mariners||White Sox|
|Shawn Green||May 23, 2002||Dodgers||Brewers|
|Carlos Delgado||Sept. 25, 2003||Blue Jays||Devil Rays|
|Josh Hamilton||May 8, 2012||Rangers||Orioles|
|Scooter Gennett||June 6, 2017||Reds||Cardinals|
|J.D. Martinez||Sept. 4, 2017||Diamondbacks||Dodgers|
The first homer off came of Rich Hill, one of only two hits that Hill allowed over six innings, a towering two-run shot to leftfield that gave Arizona a 2–0 lead it wouldn’t surrender. Martinez fended off a well-targeted fastball from Dodgers setup man Pedro Baez for his second homer of the night, a liner to rightfield that gave the D-backs a 3–0 lead. Long after the D-backs blew the game open, Martinez tacked onto his total with his third dinger of the night, an arcing shot to centerfield off of Dodgers reliever Josh Fields to give his team a 7–0 cushion. The closing act came off of a hanging breaking ball from Wilmer Font, making his Dodger Stadium debut, to turn an 11–0 rout into a 13–0 laugher.
In the context of four-homer games, Martinez’s performance falls somewhere near the middle. He finished with 16 total bases (he struck out in his first at-bat of the game), and drove in six runs (tying Carlos Delgado, Bob Horner, Chuck Klein, Rocky Colavito and Lou Gehrig). What he did do, however, was blow open a game that looked like it was headed for a tight finish between two of the National League’s best teams.
When Hill exited the game after surrendering two runs, it didn’t feel like a game where an Arizona player would finish with four home runs. Arizona starter Robbie Ray and Hill had yielded a total of three hits and two runs through six. Ray continued his outstanding season with a career-best 14 strikeouts over seven shutout innings, earning a game score of 94. He retired his first 15 hitters to outpace Hill, who was just two starts removed from narrowly missing a perfect game. Unfortunately for Ray, his best Major League outing came on the same night his teammate went for four dingers.
Once Hill exited, the Dodgers collapsed. Martinez hit his last three homers in the game’s last three innings, pacing an eleven-run outburst against a fatigued Dodgers bullpen that tossed 11 innings during their weekend series with the Padres. While Font isn’t a player that will make L.A.’s playoff roster, Baez and Fields are near-locks, and Arizona has tortured one of the game’s finest relief units.
Dodgers bullpen has allowed 45 runs in 56⅓ innings against the Diamondbacks this season. That is 26.9% of their 2017 total— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) September 5, 2017
At this point, Arizona is overwhelming pretty much anybody they play. Monday marked the Diamondbacks’ fourth consecutive win over the Dodgers, their 11th in a row and 13th in their last 14 games. Barring a complete meltdown, they will host the National League Wild Card game (they currently lead the Rockies by 6.5 games). First-year manager Torey Lovullo has helped revitalized a team that lost 93 games last season, and Martinez has overcome a slow start with his new team to transform into an ideal complement to Goldschmidt (and the struggling Jake Lamb) that the Arizona envisioned in July.
As recently as two weeks ago, the Dodgers were considered a lock for the National League pennant and considered one of the best teams of all-time. Nine losses in ten games later—four at the hands of the Diamondbacks—the Dodgers appear to have fierce competition in a Diamondbacks team spearheaded by Martinez, Goldschmidt and the rest of the Arizona offense. Today, L.A.’s rivals some 375 miles southeast look like the team more ready for postseason play.