Gonzalez comes clean, and breaks slump


Gonzalez comes clean, and breaks slump

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
KANSAS CITY Adrian Gonzalez claims hes not superstitious and that his goatee will be back in a matter of days.

But after breaking an 0-for-14 slump with a three-hit performance in the Red Sox' 7-1 win over the Royals Friday night . . . well, maybe he ought to give it a second thought.

"I have zero superstitions. I just shaved," saidGonzalez. "You use whats called a trimmer, you pass it through your face and youlose hair. Thats how you talk about shaving.

And what Gonzalez has done all season for the Sox is called hitting. After a brief slump, it appears he's back on track.

This doesnt change whats going to happen tomorrow, soall that matters is that we won, said Gonzalez, who had a pair of doubles among his three hits and lifted his average to .346. Youre going to gothrough week spans where you dont feel good, and week spans where youfeel great. You just try to stay the same throughout."

Gonzalez said his timing still isnt perfect at the plate, but hes getting some breaks to go along with the results. He still has gone almost 20 games without hitting a home run, but a solid nights work should ease some of the pressure hes feeling as one of the few healthy big bats still remaining in the Sox lineup.

My timing was good," he said. "It wasnt great. I was able to put a good swing on the first double and keep it fair, snuck one through, struck out on a pitch that I thought was off the plate and then on the double I got to 2-0 count and was able to let it fly a little bit more.

"Sometimes guys are just one swing away," said manager Terry Francona. "Adrian and Carl Crawford and a bunch of other guys took early hitting before Friday's game to try and take advantage of the nice, hot weathera.

"I dont know if you can stay on a pace when you can drive in 190 runs. Its just not feasible. Sometimes youre banged and sometimes you start going out of the strike zone. A lot of things can happen, but we still like him in that No. 3 hole.

"I think he left the strike zone a little more than normal (during the slump). I dont know if thats pressing, though. Sometimes you just dont see the ball as well. Then it all kind of comes together at once . . . "

For Gonzalez, there's no magical solution in which it all "comes together at once". When asked when it takes to break a slump, he had a simple answer.

At-bats, he said. You cant work on timing unless youre in the game. You have one at-bat where you feel good, and that swing or take will allow you to build off that. Its not just me. Everybody else -- including the opposing pitchers -- is tired at this point. Its an even playing field.

Taking a day off wont help because its not physical. Not getting a hit for three or four games isnt physical. You grind through to clinch a playoff spot, and then maybe you take a day or two off.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs