Can Adrian Gonzalez's Hot Streak Lead LA to NLCS Comeback Against St. Louis?

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIOctober 16, 2013

Adrian Gonzalez picked the right time to get hot, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping that he can carry them to two more wins in St. Louis to clinch a spot in the World Series.

After belting two home runs against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLCS on Wednesday, Gonzalez is now batting .343/.395/.657 with three home runs and seven RBI this postseason.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times had this note on A-Gon's power surge:

No bat flip, no mouse ears, just Adrian Gonzalez with his second HR. How many 2 HR games in regular season? 1.

— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 16, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16:  Adrian Gonzalez #23 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a solo home run in the third inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Five of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 16, 2013 in Los Ang
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The key for the Dodgers in the remaining games of the series will be getting to St. Louis' dominant pitching staff. The Cardinals posted a 3.42 ERA during the regular season, ranking fifth in MLB. The team has been even better in October, posting a microscopic 2.17 ERA, which leads all teams.

Even with Wednesday's offensive outburst, the Dodgers have only scored 13 runs in the first five games of the NLCS, averaging 2.6 runs per game. However, the team is 2-0 when it scores three or more runs, and 0-3 when scoring two or fewer.

The Dodgers know that the only way they can come back and win this series is at the plate, especially after scoring just two runs in the first two games in St. Louis.

Gonzalez is going to be the key for L.A.'s offense in these next two games. He's on a tear in the postseason, and his numbers at Busch Stadium are through the roof.

Adrian Gonzalez Splits
Games 1 & 22.200/.500/.20000
Career at Busch Stadium22.338/.432/.550311
Career Averages1333.294/.367/.501235850

After posting a .500 on-base percentage in the first two games in St. Louis, Gonzalez will need to continue his torrid pace in the Gateway to the West.

The first baseman is fine with returning to St. Louis, and he still believes that his team has a good chance to win the series, as he told ESPN's Tim Kurkjian after the game:

Adrian Gonzalez to @Kurkjian_ESPN on @espnradio - "I know we're down 3-2, but we like where we're at." (Meaning: Kershaw in Game 6!)

— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) October 16, 2013

It's a good thing that Gonzalez has had so much success in St. Louis, because the rest of the lineup is a mess.

Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez has been plagued by a fractured rib for most of the series since being hit with a Joe Kelly fastball in Game 1.

Mattingly: It could take a week or 2 for Hanley's rib fracture to heal.

— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 14, 2013

Ramirez isn't the only star dealing with an injury right now, as outfielder Andre Ethier has been hampered by injuries as well. He's only started in four games all postseason due to his ailments, and he's batting a pitiful .150 in October.

Ethier's injury and struggles are exacerbated by the fact that center fielder Matt Kemp will miss the entire postseason with an ankle injury.

The Dodgers lineup is riddled with injuries, which is a big reason why the team has failed to get much going on offense in this series.

Gonzalez has been the lone bright spot for the Dodgers. The question is: will he be enough?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 06:  Adrian Gonzalez #23 and Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate the Dodgers 13-6 victory against the Atlanta Braves during Game Three of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 6, 2013 i
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Despite having success at Busch Stadium earlier in the series, Gonzalez may not be able to carry the team by himself.

Without another bat or two helping him out, L.A. may struggle.

Guys like Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig will have to step up if the Dodgers are going to topple the Cardinals, but Gonzalez's dominance is a step in the right direction.


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