Hot-hitting Gonzalez moved past Infante in NL batting race

With or without the requisite plate appearances, Omar Infante’s run at the National League batting title is shaping up as a showdown with the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez.

Infante’s fellow Venezuela native used three hits Monday – his fifth three-hit game in the first six games of September – to move ahead of Infante .340 to .339 among NL leaders heading into play Tuesday.

Infante has his work cut out for him not just trying to get the requisite plate appearances of 502 – he’ll need four-plus per game and maybe a cushion in case he has to take an 0-fer if he falls short – but competing with a player who plays half his games in Coors Field. Not that he’s taking it that way.

“I’m really happy for him,” Infante said of Gonzalez, with teammate J.C. Boscan translating. “He’s a great hitter and he’s having a great season.”

Gonzalez, who was hitting .593 (16-for-27) in September, is in the midst of a 10-game home stand too. Just thinking about the damage he can do in the hitter-friendly Coors Field brings up raw memories for Chipper Jones. Jones lost the 2007 NL batting title to Matt Holliday when he was with the Rockies. Jones hit .337; Holliday hit .340.

“If (Gonzalez) is doing the same thing on the road that he’s doing at home, I’d be glad to give him credit,” said Jones, who went on to win the batting title in 2008 by hitting .364. “And he’s a tremendous player, don’t get me wrong, but the numbers? He’s hitting like .390 at home with 25 homers and 65 ribbies?”

Close. Through Monday, Gonzalez was hitting .395 with 24 home runs and 63 RBIs at home and .288 with seven home runs and 34 RBIs on the road. Infante by comparison, is hitting .379 at home with 1 homer and 17 RBIs and .311 on the road with six homers and 22 RBIs.

Even to be in contention is something Infante never imagined, in a year in which he made his first All-Star team too.

“I’ve worked on hitting every year,” Infante said. “All of a sudden I’m in this situation. I’m really happy about it.”

But Infante said his focus is more on winning the NL East anyway.

“I’m more excited that the team’s in first place and trying to make the playoffs,” Infante said. “If I help the team, everybody will be happy.”

12 comments Add your comment

SR

September 7th, 2010
6:48 pm

Thoughts from the West Coast: Just contrast the Braves’ acquisitions with those of the Giants: While we (Braves) have to suffer through the likes of McLouth, Lee, Glaus, Farnsworth and the worst, Ankiel, the Giants acquired Pat the Bat Burrell (why weren’t we players for him, the guy is a consummate pro and was available for a song!!!!) Mike Fontenot, Jose Guillen, Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross. Most of them have raked since they got here, Ross has the lowest average of the lot at .264. Meanwhile, look at the losers we run out there led by Ankiel.

While Wren deserves some credit for some of his other moves and for assembling a team that has somehow managed to remain in First for so long, you have to be able to withstand the criticism for the moves that haven’t worked out and to date, the ones above have all been a giant bust, with perhaps the exception of Glaus’ one productive month in the Spring.

JL

September 7th, 2010
7:55 pm

Un F^^^ ing real. These guys are pitiful. Poor Tim Hudson has to be on a lousy team like this!!!

This is the Pirats for Craps Sake!!!

David

September 7th, 2010
8:53 pm

why is everyone trying to give infante something he doesn’t deserve? yes he’sdone a good job, but why should he get something that he barely qualifies for (if at all), when these other guys will have FAR more AB’s that he does?

kwajbraves

September 7th, 2010
9:04 pm

Reality check… Braves are collapsing and the free fall continues. It seems that the Braves forgot how to win on the road.

kwajbraves

September 7th, 2010
9:06 pm

5-0 Pirates…. Roll the tarp and go walk the dogs because this one is over…

David

September 7th, 2010
9:09 pm

Oh well, it’s football season

LuisG - Win-it-4Bobby-n-Chipper

September 7th, 2010
10:23 pm

Sh*t, the Phillies won their game…

boratman310

September 8th, 2010
6:50 am

First let me say that the braves priority for spending is wrong. They spend more on executives,want too much profit (instead of scouts,players ,and coaches that are not performing or getting results.
I do not believe Cox,Pendleton,or any of the coaches are capable of coaching minor league teams.

Why not hire the coach to be and let Cox sit on the bench and pick his nose while the new coach takes over. Send pendleton packing along with Mr.Wren.

The main thing is spend the money to make the club better, not spend it to line some of these incapable people in charge.

Sell the team to Mr. Blanks and lets see what happens.

I agree with the statement in earlier blog the media needs to get answers on some of the more meanful questions. (1) why the line up that was displayed on Tuesday? (2) why has the brave had a problem the last two games with subpar pitchers?

Melky Way

September 8th, 2010
10:20 am

What makes you think that Mr.Blanks wants the Braves? If he did he would have bought them by now.

WinSomething

September 8th, 2010
11:50 am

Hey, David. If he has the higher number after he takes his 0-whatever (or reaches 502 PA’s), and by MLB guidelines is awarded the batting title, in the eyes of MLB he would deserve it. Thats why.

Maybe the team can get hot again before the season ends, score a bunch of runs, led by Infante’s hot hitting, and he can have a few games where he gets 5 or 6 AB’s while we score 12 or 13 runs beating Philis. We can then take the division back and take a hot hand into the playoffs. Sounds like a win-win situation for us all. Someone get the memo down to the players for me, our new strategy is going to be: Score a lot of runs, get some wins, and get Infante enough AB’s to qualify for a batting title.

Ready.. set… GO!

. Don

September 8th, 2010
11:50 am

93.75%
93.75%
93.75%
NINTY THREE (plus) PERCENT:
Booby’s PERCENTAGE OF FAILURE in Post Season Opportunities compared to World Seies Championships.
SO – Why worry about whether of not we make the Post Season — With Cox managing, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT REALLY MAKE.
(And remember, even the ONE WS Championship was really almost an accident (the odds were all against it – it required Glavine to pitch a one hit SHUTOUT of the best team in the American League in the final game – in which the Braves scored only ONE RUN on a homerun).

Buc

September 9th, 2010
11:10 am

Chipper is moron. Infante isnt even eligible…check that stat.

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