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BOSTON (CBS) – Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is slumping.
After an 0-for-4 showing against the Athletics in Wednesday night’s 4-2 loss, Gonzalez is hitless in his last four games going 0-for-17 with five strikeouts.
Magnifying the situation is Gonzalez’ failure to deliver in two crucial situations Wednesday night. With Boston trailing 4-1 in the seventh but threatening with the bases loaded and two outs, Gonzalez struck out for the second time on the evening, prompting the normally composed slugger to slam his bat to the ground. Then, with Dustin Pedroia on third and the Sox trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Gonzalez grounded out to third to end the game.
They were two opportunities that Gonzalez felt got away. But he was not about to duck responsibility after Boston’s second straight loss.
“This game is all on me,” Gonzalez said after the game. “I had two good opportunities and failed to come through. I will make it a point not to let that happen again.”
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With the slump, Gonzalez’ average is down to .250 on the season. It’s been two weeks since he hit his last home run, and Gonzalez has driven in just two runs over the last seven games.
“He’s just tired,” manager Bobby Valentine of his first baseman. “He has played all the time. His timing and recognition of the strike zone is just a little off. He hasn’t said he’s tired. He was here for early BP. When the strike zone leaves you a little and you’re late on some pitches you might be a little mentally tired. He’ll be fine.”
“I just think when that strike zone leaves you and you get a little late on pitches, it’s maybe mentally tired. But you can recharge with an off day,” added Valentine.
But Gonzalez did not want to hear any excuses.
“Not at all,” Gonzalez said when asked if he was tired. “I feel good. It’s one of those things, those two at-bats when I should have come through at least once and I didn’t. I feel great physically. I’m just a click off on my timing, a little late on the fastballs, a little ahead of the off-speed pitches. This is only three or four games.”
“Adrian is kind of like me in a sense when we’re trying to find it; once you find it you take off,” said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. “That’s how it goes. You go through times when you’re not swinging the bat well or not seeing the ball well. Then you have one at bat –I don’t know if it’s a walk, a bloop hit – but it locks you in the rest of the year. He’ll be fine.”
The Red Sox open a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, a team Gonzalez feasted on in 2011. He had 34 hits against the O’s, the most against any opponent in 2011, with eight doubles, two homers and 15 RBI in 18 games.
It may not be as easy this season though, with the Orioles leading the American League with a 2.86 ERA. Still, Gonzalez remains confident.
“I’m always looking for a pitch to drive and I haven’t been able to do that the last four games. But I’ll do it Friday,” he said.