BOSTON (CBS) – While a lot of focus has been on injured players returning to the Red Sox, the team has been patiently awaiting Adrian Gonzalez to get his power stroke back.
That wait appears to be over.
Gonzalez picked up his fourth straight multi-hit game Wednesday night in a 10-1 win over the White Sox, going 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. Gonzalez is 7-for-16 with a pair of homers and 10 RBI the last four games, and has struck out just once.
“He’s driving runs in. He’s using the whole field. He’s hitting all pitches. He’s fouling off the tough ones. He looks like the real Adrian Gonzalez right at the right time,” manager Bobby Valentine said after Wednesday night’s win.
“He’s probably one of the hottest hitters in the game right now,” said Cody Ross, who along with Gonzalez accounted for all 10 of Boston’s runs on Wednesday night. “It seems like he’s got that confidence back and that swagger back that I’ve seen for years playing against him. Every time he comes up, he’s got a chance to do damage. He’s such a fun hitter to watch when he’s going good. He sprays the ball all over the place, has a lot of power and can hit the ball over the Monster, too.”
The Sox first baseman has hits in 22 of his last 23 games, batting .404 over that stretch, including five doubles and three homers. He’s driven in 19 runs and scored 14 more over the last month, and his hits seem to be coming at important times. Wednesday night was the third straight game the Sox fell behind in the first, only to have Gonzalez tie things up in the bottom of the inning.
As for his timely hits, Gonzalez is batting .404 this season with runners in scoring position this season.
Gonzalez’s power surge comes at a welcome time for Boston, who just lost David Ortiz to a heel injury for at least the next week and a half. It has helped that he’s had Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford back at the top of the order, as the two have combined to score 10 runs since Monday. Gonzalez has been responsible for three of them.
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While he can’t pitch, which remains Boston’s biggest need, having Gonzalez’ powerful bat back brings stability to the middle of the lineup — especially with the absence of Ortiz.
And when Ortiz returns, imagine the power surges Fenway Park will experience.