Nelson Cruz is a one-man wrecking crew: Hits two homers, delivers walk-off hit in six-run comeback
Nelson Cruz has had quite the start to the season. After hitting home runs in five consecutive games from April 11-15, earning the nickname "Boomstreak" (in the Cut4 offices, at least), Cruz went two whole games before blasting another.
Of course, in those two games, the right fielder went 4-for-8, so it's not like he cooled off too much.
But the slugger was back to his, well, slugging ways on Sunday, blasting two more dingers through the seventh inning against the Rangers. It also made some people wonder if his body was actually just home runs covered in a uniform, kind of like three kids standing on each other's shoulders and wrapped in a trenchcoat.
That gives Cruz a league-leading eight home runs on the season and 13 RBI. It also means that Cruz is the very driving force of the Mariners offense. As Fangraphs writer Jeff Sullivan noted:
league-wide, 36% of runs have scored on dingers. 32% of Mariners runs have scored on Nelson Cruz dingers- Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) April 19, 2015
Major League hitters haven't been able to sniff this kind of power in years. I mean, he's on pace to hit 108 this year. Which, correct me if I'm wrong, is some kind of record.
Nelson Cruz: 8 HR ... most by a player in team's first 12 games since Alex Rodriguez hit 8 in first 12 games in 2007- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 19, 2015
Dating back to last season, Cruz has hit 48 home runs, nine ahead of the second-place sluggers Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Abreu and Mike Trout. That's right, Cruz is ahead of a group of batters that could, and should, be called The Rad Boys of Baseball.
Not only did Cruz smash two home runs, though. He did it while showing off the Mariners new gorgeous gold-and-blue Sunday alternates. That's function and fashion. And if he is sentient collection of dingers in a baseball uniform, at least it's a good-looking one.
But with the Mariners trailing, 10-5, going into the bottom of the seventh, it looked like his powerful efforts would be in vain. Then ... the Mariners stormed back.
Kyle Seager drove in one in the seventh, with a Robinson Cano walk and another Seager single bringing in three more in the eighth.
Entering the bottom of the ninth down, 10-9, Austin Jackson tied the game with a single. Three batters later, and with the bases loaded, Cruz stepped up to the plate once more.
What would he do? Drive a third home run out of the park? Blast a ball into low orbit, knocking some harmless weather balloon out of the sky?
Nope, Cruz didn't even get it in the air this time, grounding a ball through the infield to drive in the winning run.
Of course, because he didn't homer, Cruz is only responsible for 30 percent of the team's offense. Which, like, whatever, man.