Quickly

  • 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.
By Gabriel Baumgaertner
September 05, 2017

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:

player

Date

Team

Opponent

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.

MLB
Video: J.D. Martinez Blasts Four Home Runs Against Dodgers

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.

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.

 

You May Like