Turns out, Dee Gordon with one good knee is still faster than just about everyone else.
Mariners manager Scott Servais pulled Gordon in the seventh inning of their loss on Friday against the Cleveland Indians after Gordon’s knee awkwardly buckled while he was chasing a home run. Gordon crashed into the wall, too.
Gordon played Sunday and went 4-for-5 at the plate. Then he went 5-for-5 in the Mariners 6-3 win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.
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He’s a lot of fun to watch.
“Anybody who doesn’t like watching that, you’re crazy,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s energy. It’s slapping the ball all over the field. It’s stolen bases.”
Over his past three games, Gordon is 11-for-14 (.786) and he raised his batting average on Tuesday 30 points to .339.
He became the third player in Mariners history to have four hits in back-to-back games, joining Kendrys Morales (2013) and Ichiro Suzuki (who has done that three times).
And his five hits on Tuesday tied a career high.
“I had to do my job,” Gordon said. “I was trying to do my job to make everybody else’s lives easier. That’s what I’m here to do is make everybody’s lives easier.”
And he became the first Mariners player in team history to have five hits and two stolen bases in a game. They acquired him in an offseason trade from the Miami Marlins.
“It’s pretty cool, man,” Gordon said. “I just got here and I didn’t know much about that. I heard about it a little while ago. It’s pretty cool, man.
“More importantly, we won. We keep winning and that’s what we need to do.”
And how important is he? He Mariners are 16-5 this season when Gordon has a base hit and they are 17-11 overall. The only win the Mariners had when Gordon didn't get a hit was a 1-0 win against the White Sox.
Though Gordon said his knee is still sore. Servais said before Tuesday’s game that Guillermo Heredia could potentially spell Gordon a game in center field.
And it would be deserved. Gordon just about always seems to have the dirtiest jersey after games, which is part of why he’s so fun to watch.
“It’s sore,” Gordon said of his knee. “But I got to play for these guys. It’s a good group of guys. And I got to do what I have to do to help us win.”
But you have to wonder how long Gordon can keep his all-out, 120-percent style of play up before injury happens.
There’s hardly ever a time he’s running the bases when his helmet doesn’t fly off his head. And he’s almost always sliding head-first into a bag. He leads the American League with 12 stolen bases.
The Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes jammed his thumb on Sunday sliding head first into third base.
“I’ve actually torn both thumb ligaments sliding head first,” Gordon said. “It’s just part of the game.”
But in an era where there are more strikeouts in the first month of the season than hits in the major leagues, and launch angles and exit velocities have been crowned king, Gordon is proving his style is just as effective – and just as fun.
“We talk about the power and the home runs and the strikeouts and how the game is changing a little bit, but it still goes to show you that putting the bat on the ball wit hthe speed and what that can do,” Servais said.
“The hand-eye coordination that Dee Gordon has got is really remarkable. He hits pitches all over the strike zone and all over the field. It’s really fun to watch.”
And Nelson Cruz, who gave the Mariners a 4-1 lead with a three-run home run in the fifth inning said Gordon energizes their dugout.
“He’s amazing,” Cruz said. “He finds a way to get it done and get on base and create situations for us in our lineup to score runs. It’s been impressive watching him play.
“He has a lot of energy and everybody feeds off of that. Anytime he’s on base he can steal bases or he’s on third with one hit.”