"I'm not surprised at all," said Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, referring to Bautista's breakout showing this season. "With the way he works, and as hard as he goes, and he's coachable. That's the big thing about him. You don't have to say much to him this year."
The 29-year-old has been putting up astounding power numbers this year, highlighted by a Majors-best 42 home runs -- including four in the last week. He's rapidly approaching the single-season franchise home run record of 47, set by George Bell in 1987.
"It's not something I set out to do," said Bautista, whose previous season high in home runs was 16. "I'm just trying to do as good as I can. If I break it, I break it."
As has been the case several times this season, Bautista continued to lift the Jays' offense single-handedly last week. By this point, though, his teammates aren't surprised.
"He's been amazing all year," pitcher Brandon Morrow said. "Just one more home run that won the game for us. He's been doing it all year, and I think he's going to continue to."
No one may be able to match the big numbers Bautista has put up over the entire season, but the Rockies' Gonzalez gave Bautista a run for his money this past week.
The 24-year-old outfielder batted .545 over the past six games, recording an extra-base hit in all of them. Gonzalez also tallied 11 RBIs last week to help lead his team to a sweep of the first-place Braves. After a strong week, Gonzalez's average is sitting at .326, good for tops in the NL entering play on Monday.
"What is it that we've seen that he can't do very well?" Rockies manager Jim Tracy said of Gonzalez. "I don't see anything he can't do. He's as graceful a baseball player in any facet of the game [as] I've ever seen."
His personal accolades aside, "CarGo" isn't giving up on his team's playoff chances without a fight. After a 5-1 homestand, the Rockies are just 4 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the NL Wild Card.
"We have to forget about the past," Gonzalez said. "We have to forget about how badly we've played on the road. This is the opportunity for us to change everything and play well on the road. We have to get back on track. We know we're running out of time and this is the time for us."