Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In the highly contested pitcher’s duel that took place on Wednesday at Chavez Ravine, the Los Angeles Dodgers knew that runs would be at a premium. Defense remained the focus so that the Dodgers could back up their ace, Clayton Kershaw. One player that stood out on the defensive side was shortstop Kiké Hernandez.

Kershaw, who carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, was dealing, incorporating his arsenal of pitches. In the fourth inning, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals hit a ground ball towards second base. Hernandez, who roamed to attempt to corral the ball, lost it and stumbled momentarily before making an outstanding throw for the out at first. When Hernandez was asked about the play and the significance it had at that point, he remained humble in stating that he was just trying to get the out.

“No, not really. I was just trying to keep myself out of the error column,” Hernandez said. “The ball was hit really hard and it hit the mound so it took a funny hop so I just wanted to keep it in front of me and that’s what I did and luckily it stayed close enough to where I could throw him out.”

Alas, Kershaw’s attempt at history would end in the sixth inning on a double by outfielder Michael Taylor. As the southpaw attempted to refocus on the mound, he needed some help from the infield and Hernandez came to his rescue. On a ground ball from Yunel Escobar that barely got over Kershaw’s glove, Hernandez dove, gathered his momentum, and got the out at first base to end the inning. After the game, Hernandez was asked if he saw Kershaw’s celebration after and stated, “Uh no. I was trying to taste myself watching the replay so I wasn’t looking at Kershaw.”

The 23-year-old has been solid defensively in any spot he’s been placed. The Puerto Rico native has played all three outfield positions, shortstop, and second base this season. When playing the infield, Hernandez brings youthfulness and a promising swagger about himself. “The harder it gets hit to me, the more I like it. It’s more fun,” Hernandez said.

The Dodgers escaped Wednesday with a series victory, behind the pitching of Kershaw, the defense of Hernandez, and the three hits of Carl Crawford. Hernandez was asked about his thoughts of the game and sarcastically stated, “Kershaw was on the mound, CC came in clutch, Rendon came in clutch as well with that throw so it was a good overall game.” Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon launched a relay throw into the crown in the eighth inning, leading to two Dodger runs.

In 56 games played this season, Hernandez’s slash line is .278/.333/.496, with five home runs and 15 RBIs. With the ability to hit to go along with his great fielding defense, Hernandez has accepted his role and is producing on all levels for the Dodgers.

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About The Author

Eric Avakian is a senior at Cal Poly Pomona majoring in marketing and business administration. Growing up in Burbank, California, Eric grew up as an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan.

One Response

  1. Blue

    He’s really fun to watch. Kike is definitely a huge part of this team.

    Reply

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