playoff baseball is happening
If you believe in destiny, you might just think that Kiké Hernandez's three home runs Thursday night were meant to be. The Los Angeles Dodgers' 11-1 win against the defending World Series champions, the Chicago Cubs, clinched the National League pennant for the boys in blue for the first time since 1988 — in no small part thanks to Hernandez's third-inning grand slam. With two more home runs in Game 5, Hernandez joined the small club of players with three dingers in a postseason game.
Hernandez's home runs were all the more exciting because they were entirely unexpected: "The utility player's bat has never been his selling point, to say the least," Deadspin writes. "A modest power surge this year — a career-high ISO of .205, after failing to ever top .175 — brought his home run total for the season only to the grand sum of 11. He was one of the weakest-hitting players on the Dodgers, ninth by slugging percentage."
The Dodgers owner, Guggenheim CEO Mark Walter, even promised Hernandez a $1 million donation to Puerto Rico relief efforts if he simply got on base twice, Dodgers beat reporter Michael J. Duarte writes.
Despite his odds, Hernandez didn't have any doubt. He told his mother — who lives in Puerto Rico, and was watching the game on a generator-powered TV at Hernandez's grandparents house — that he was going to hit a home run, SB Nation reports. "Don't think about hitting a home run; just think about putting the ball in play," she advised him before the game. He replied: "No Mom, I was thinking about that the first two games, and that didn't work."
And in the stands for his three homers? "Hernandez's father, who battled cancer last year, is at Wrigley Field tonight watching his son have the game of his life," Duarte tweeted.