Adrian Gonzalez: AL Player of the Week

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Adrian Gonzalez: AL Player of the Week

After this weekend's disaster against the Blue Jays, there's very little news aside from maybe trading Josh Beckett or a Fenway brick liquidation sale that would improve the ugly attitude that's taken over Red Sox Nation.

For instance: Adrian Gonzalez has been named American League Player of the Week!

See?

But since we spent so much time ranking on Gonzalez for his early struggles, it's worth taking a second to recognize his success.

According to the people who keep track this sort of thing, this is the sixth Player of the Week award of Gonzalez's career. He batted .429 (12-for-28) with three home runs, 12 RBI and five runs scored in seven games from July 15-22.

But more interesting than a silly Player of the Week award is a hit chart that was just tweeted out by ESPN Stats & Info. Go ahead. Have a look.

It shows that since June 26, Gonzalez is hitting .484 on at-bats that end on an outside pitch. This after hitting .210 before that.

This isn't an enormous surprise, seeing how often Gonzalez has gone to the opposite field recently. But it's another very encouraging sign for the Sox apathetic slugger. You can tell he's really found a groove. And when you consider that in another week or so, he'll likely be hitting fifth behind, Ellsbury, Crawford, Pedroia and Ortiz, it's safe to say there will be a few extra ducks on the pond when Gonzalez does his damage. That's good news.

And so is the Player of the Week award, I guess, even if it pales in comparison to the Sox recent struggles.

However, there's one slightly scary footnote on all this:

The last time Gonzalez won Player of the Week?

August 28, 2011

Let's hope the Sox respond better this time around.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.