McAdam: Gonzalez not worried about slump


McAdam: Gonzalez not worried about slump

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BALTIMORE -- Adrian Gonzalez has only himself to blame.

Gonzalez was so good in the first half of the season, leading the big leagues in everything from batting average to RBI to total bases, that he set an impossibly high standard.

And now that Gonzalez has started the second half of the season mired in a 2-for-24 slump, there are theories everywhere, including one which suggests that his current funk at the plate is the result of having taken part -- and finishing second -- in the annual Home Run Derby.

Some players have refused to take part in the exhibition, claiming that participation will effect their swing for weeks to come, as it's done with some in the past. Bobby Abreu is the most notorious example, having hit 18 homers in the first half of 2005, only to follow with just six in the second half of the season.

But Gonzalez said there's no Home Run Derby Curse or even impact. He's just in a plain, old-fashioned slump.

"Baseball doesn't always go your way," said Gonzalez after an 0-for-4 night with a double play and two strikeouts. "Guy makes a diving play in the first at-bat (to start a double play) . . . it's just the (nature of the) game.

"I feel good enough. I just have to execute (better)."

Reminded that some are ready to link his five-game downturn with the Derby, Gonzalez said: "That's not an excuse. I think the days off are worse. I don't think the Home Run Derby had anything to do with it."

If Gonzalez could boil his problems down to a single word, it would be: timing.

"I'm just getting ready late, not recognizing pitches and swinging at pitches I normally wouldn't swing at," he said. "I'm chasing sliders down in the zone that I usually take, no problem. And when I get a (good) pitch, I'm fouling it off. That's all it is. It's not a big deal. It's just a matter of repetition."

Some hitters take extra batting practice to work themselves out of slumps. Others watch video, trying to find a flaw in their swing.

Gonzalez, however, is different. When he's in a dip, here's what he usually does about it: absolutely nothing.

"Just don't think about it,'' said Gonzalez. "(You) go through every at-bat just like when you're doing good. Nothing changes. The worst thing to ever do is panic and that's not something I ever do. I've been through too many of these, two-for-whatever-it--is, to panic.

"It's a long season and in a week or two, we're going to be talking about me having three hits and everything will be fine again. So I just go through (things) like every day is the same."

And, one imagines, without any second thoughts about last week's Home Run Derby.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists


Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists

Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, Mookie Betts in right and Dustin Pedroia at second base are the Red Sox' finalists for the American League Gold Glove awards.

The Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar and the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier are the other A.L. center field finalists. The White Sox’ Adam Eaton and Astros’ George Springer are A.L. right field finalists. Joining Pedroia as second base finalists are the Mariners’ Robinson Cano and Tigers’ Ian Kinsler.

Peoria has won four Gold Gloves. Bradley and Betts have yet to win one.

The full list of finalists is here.  The awards will be presented on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. on ESPN

The Red Sox sent out a series of tweets backing each player’s candidacy.

Betts is also a front-runner for the American League Most Valuable Player.


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League

CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz is heading into retirement with some more hardware.

The Boston Red Sox slugger captured the Hank Aaron Award on Wednesday as the top hitter in the American League this season. Budding Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was honored as the top hitter in the National League.

The award was presented before Game 2 of the World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland. It was determined through a combination of fan voting and a panel that includes Aaron and other Hall of Fame players.

The 40-year-old Ortiz hit .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs and 48 doubles in the 20th and final season of his major league career. His 541 career home runs rank 17th all-time.

The 24-year-old Bryant hit .292 with 39 home runs and 102 RBIs while helping the Cubs cruise to the NL Central title and eventually a spot in the World Series. Shortly after being honored, Bryant singled in the first inning for his first Series hit.