On a hot night at Coors Field on Tuesday, in the bottom of the fifth, the Colorado Rockies stood tied with the San Deigo Padres at four runs apiece and Carlos Gonzalez stood at the plate with a pair of ducks on the pond. The slumping slugger seemed almost predestined to strike out or ground into an inning-ending, rally-killing double play. It's been that kind of season for him.
But in that moment, CarGo looked like his old self, jumping on a fastball and ripping a line drive double into the right-center field gap, giving Colorado a lead they would never relinquish, essentially clinching the series against the Padres.
This came the very same day that the highly talented and productive Raimel Tapia was optioned to Triple-A, giving it even more weight as Gonzalez rewarded the faith the Rockies have placed in him despite the lack of results thus far. On a day when the easy talking point was that Colorado should have parted ways with their slumping slugger, he was the difference in their win of both the game and the series.
While Gonzalez still has a long way to go to prove he can deliver like that with any kind of regularity in 2017, it used to be what he was known for. He's never shied away from big moments, his struggles this season run deeper than that. Still 31-years-old, he also shouldn't be so far past his prime that the bat cannot return. Who knows if his three-RBI will be a harbinger of things to come or a momentary bright spot in a nightmare season. But if the three-time All-Star can even get back to 60-70 percent of the hitter he once was, he can be a major factor in extending the Rockies lineup and making them incredibly dangerous down the stretch.