PHOENIX — A strong case can be made that no one has more valuable to his team than Paul Goldschmidt this season.
Goldschmidt, of course, will not make it. His teammates will, though, and it did not take another four-hit, five-RBI game like the one Goldschmidt had Sunday in an 8-2 victory over the Rockies to prompt them.
“It drives me nuts that people don’t talk about him,” second baseman Aaron Hill said. “His numbers are ridiculous. He’s having an unbelievable year. He should be front and center in line for the MVP.
“Without him, where are we at this year? The guy has carried us. He’s the MVP every game. Why shouldn’t he be the MVP for the year?”
Goldschmidt has the numbers to back their case.
His home run off the batter’s eye in center field was his 32nd, extending his career high and bringing him within one of league leader Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates.
His 114 RBIs are 13 more than the Reds’ Brandon Phillips, giving him a stranglehold on the category with 14 games remaining.
No one argues that Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina, Freddie Freeman and Clayton Kershaw — whom the D-backs are scheduled to face in the third game of a four-game series here Wednesday — are having good seasons. McCutchen seems to be the player most in the spotlight, perhaps for his part in leading the Pirates to their first winning season in 20 years and an almost certain playoff berth.
It is just that none compare favorably with Goldschmidt, who also is hitting .301 and leads the NL in slugging percentage and OPS.
“Without a doubt,” D-backs third baseman Eric Chavez said.
“It’s pretty clear-cut. It’s unfair when they say the team has to be in the race. You look at what the guy has done and what he has meant for this team. He has better numbers than anybody else. It’s pretty simple.”
McCutchen has 19 doubles, 79 RBIs and 27 stolen bases. Alvarez has 93 RBIs but is hitting .231. Molina is hitting .317 with 39 doubles, 12 homers and 66 RBIs for the Cardinals. Kershaw leads the NL in ERA and strikeouts and appears a lock to win the Cy Young, but it is highly unusual for a pitcher to win both awards, especially when there are hitters with good cases.
“The second-place guys are all kind of in the same. He’s the only that’s above,” Chavez continued. “If there was another person whose numbers stuck out … but they don’t
“It’s crazy. It’s terrible. If he was playing for San Francisco, it would be completely different. It’s unfair, but until they clarify what the formula is for the MVP, it’s going to be kind of wishy-washy.”
Goldschmidt singled in a run in the first inning Sunday and then broke an 83 at-bat home run drought with his two-run shot in the third inning, giving Randall Delgado a 3-0 lead. His two-run double to cap a three-run fourth made it 6-0, and he added a leadoff single in the seventh, leaving him a triple short of the becoming the sixth player in franchise history to hit for for cycle.
Opponents have taken to walking Goldschmidt with regularity since the early part of July; since then he has been walked 51 times in 57 games, with 13 of them intentional. It has not affected his plate discipline, even though he has had fewer pitches to hit.
“It doesn’t change anything. Just go up there and try to get a good pitch to hit and hit it hard. If it’s a walk, that’s good,” Goldschmidt said.
“I just try to make sure I am ready every pitch. If it turns out to be a walk, we have a lot of good hitters throughout this lineup, so that’s a good thing. Another base runner, another chance to score. Your approach, depending on situations, changes, but it’s no different as far as trying to expand the zone or trying be more patient or anything like that.”
Goldschmidt was aware it had been awhile since his last home run — a grand slam in Cincinnati on Aug. 20 — but it’s not as if he were counting the days.
“I knew it had been awhile. I didn’t know exactly what it was,” he said.
“I don’t even know how to hit them. I just try to hit the ball hard, There is no reason to try to do anything different. Sometimes it just happens. That’s just the way the game is. Home runs. Walks. Triples. Whatever stat you are going to take, you get a few in a week and may not got many the rest of the year. You just try to have good at-bats.”
“That honestly is something I haven’t thought about one time,” Goldschmidt said.