J.D. Martinez Has Been Crucial to the Diamondbacks' Playoff Push
Arizona's 13-0 demolition of L.A. was powered by 4, count 'em, 4 home runs from the Diamondbacks' mid-season acquisition from the Detroit Tigers. Martinez became the second player this season to smack a quartet of dingers in one game, the first being Scooter Gennett, who pulled off that feat for the Cincinnati Reds.
The 30-year-old Martinez is having his most impressive offensive season yet, with 34 bombs, a .285 batting average, and a .367 on-base percentage, as well as a .654 slugging percentage and a weighted runs created (wRC+) of 155 that would both be career highs.
Since 2014, Martinez has hit 117 homers, 15th-most in baseball during that stretch, and his wRC+ of 146 is tied for sixth-best among qualified players since then.
Despite Martinez being the second player this season to go deep four times in one game, pulling off that feat is a rare occurrence.
What J.D. Martinez accomplished tonight is rarer than a perfect game. pic.twitter.com/SjP5mnN6su
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 5, 2017
As noted by ESPN Stats & Info and the Elias Sports Bureau, Martinez became the first player to hit a home run in the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning of the same game. And then there was this fun note.
J.D. Martinez had 4 HR. The Dodgers had 3 hits. This is the first 4-HR game in which the player had more HR than the opponent had HITS.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 5, 2017
Okay, if you're a Dodgers fan, maybe that note wasn't particularly fun.
Martinez, who is a pending free agent, has been an outstanding pick-up for Arizona. He's hit 18 homers with 40 RBIs in 40 games with the club, trailing only Giancarlo Stanton in those categories over that stretch. The team is 23-17 since bringing him aboard, and has won their last 11 -- only the Cleveland Indians, who have won 12 in a row, have been hotter.
While the D-Backs still trail Los Angeles by a seemingly insurmountable 12.5 games in the National League West (our projections have the Dodgers as a 100% lock to win the division), they are proving to be a formidable match-up for the Dodgers, who are now 1-9 in their last 10 games.
Arizona's 9-8 record against L.A. this season isn't eye-popping, but they hold a 93-69 advantage in run differential. In their last four games, the D-Backs have outscored the Dodgers by a whopping 34-11.
Arizona's recent hot streak has all but solidified home field advantage for them in the National League wild card game. They have a healthy 6.5 game lead over the Colorado Rockies, who are struggling to hold off the surging Milwaukee Brewers (1.5 games back) and the St. Louis Cardinals (3 games back). Getting past the one-game playoff is always a roll of the dice, but with Zack Greinke or Robbie Ray -- who piled up 13 strikeouts against the Dodgers last night -- on the hill, the D-Backs' chances to advance are good.
It's not clear which was the more unlikely outcome to come out of last night's game, J.D. Martinez's history-making 4-homer game, or the Diamondbacks showing everyone that the Dodgers may be vulnerable.