Colorado Rockies: Nolan Arenado’s big day should ramp up MVP talk
By Kevin Henry
Sorry East Coast media and people who like to say “Coors” way too often, but Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies is right back in the discussion for National League Most Valuable Player.
It’s not like Arenado was ever really out of the discussion but there are times when a player is so good, you forget just how good he really is. Such has been the case with Arenado this season. Outside of his storybook walkoff cycle hitting day against the San Francisco Giants, Nolan has been just chugging along, doing his job at the plate and in the field. Not a lot of praise. Not a lot of national media attention. Just a lot of #NolanBeingNolan tweets floating around the Rockies Twitter universe.
Well, Arenado grabbed hold of the nation’s attention again on Wednesday afternoon during an 18-4 shellacking of the San Diego Padres. In the span of six innings, Arenado went 5-for-5 with three home runs and seven RBI. Those aren’t everyday numbers, even for Nolan. In fact, it marked the first time that any Rockies player had five hits and three homers in a single game. It’s only the sixth time it’s happened in Major League Baseball over the last decade.
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After getting the night off on Tuesday, Arenado returned with a vengeance against the Padres. A first-inning RBI single. A second-inning RBI single. A fourth-inning solo shot to left. A fifth-inning solo shot to right-center. A sixth-inning three-run home run to left. Padres pitchers kept daring Arenado and he kept making them pay. It was a vicious circle of life at 20th and Blake.
He had a chance to make even more history (only 17 times has a player hit four homers in a game) in the eighth inning but flied out to left. He was cheered by the Rockies faithful as he headed back to the dugout. His final line on the day? 5-for-6. Three homers. Four runs scored. Seven RBI. Fourteen total bases. Have a day, Nolan.
Arenado now holds the Major League baseball RBI lead with 80, thanks in part to the three homers that now have him sitting at 21 round-trippers this season. His big day also raised his average to .309 for the season. Yep, he’s in the MVP discussion.
After the game, Arenado told Rox Pile and other media members that the time off on Tuesday motivated him even more on Wednesday.
"“I was more motivated to come play today. Whenever I have a day off, I’m always ready to play but I really wanted to play today,” Arenado said. “I was actually stretching earlier than I usually do. I was fired up about being out there. I don’t like days off. I know they’re important. Obviously, I’m playing well after them but I just don’t like them.”"
The day off came after an 0-for-5 performance on Monday. Arenado didn’t like the timing.
"“I wasn’t very happy with myself after that,” he said. “Just because you’re 0-for-5 doesn’t mean you have to sit. I wasn’t happy that I took my day. I should’ve told them no. I should’ve just been tougher about it.”"
By the way, Arenado told reporters after the game his goal is to have no more days off the rest of the season. That’s something to keep an eye on.
Last season, a losing record kept Arenado from gaining traction across the country despite his solid .294/.362/.570 line with 41 homers and 133 RBI. He finished fifth with those numbers in 2016. He’s never hit over .300 in a season before. He’s knocking on that door in 2017.
We had a debate on this site just last week about Arenado compared to other third basemen in MLB. You can read it by clicking here. However, days like Wednesday reminded everyone (again) who has any baseball sense that Arenado is a special talent who keeps making history. He’s also a player who has once again inserted himself squarely into the MVP conversation … a conversation he’s really been in all season.