Notes: Gonzalez still producing despite power dip

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Notes: Gonzalez still producing despite power dip

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
SEATTLE There's no panic in Adrian Gonzalez, and that's one of the things that make him great for the Red Sox.

He's been as good as advertised all season at the plate, but there are some tiny little things that could be construed as concerns when it comes to his offense.

That seems like a pretty peculiar statement, given that the big Boston slugger is leading the American League in batting average (.350) and has turned on enough fastballs to show his quick-wristed power.

But Gonzalez has hit only 2 home runs since July 1, and only 1 in his last 29 games, and is hitting .250 (7-for-28) while managing only one RBI in his last seven games. Thats a fire cry from production the Red Sox have been getting from him all season.

Manager Terry Francona, however, isn't worried.

Sometimes home runs come in bunches. Sometimes they dont, said Francona. I think he was fighting this neck injury early in the year. But I think the good news as that hes still such a great hitter that he can hurt teams in other ways.

That was true Friday night, as he went 2-for-4 with a double in the Red Sox' 6-4 win over the Mariners.

The nice thing from where I sit is that hes not an all-or-nothing guy," said Francona. "He puts the bat on the ball and sprays the ball over the field. Hes just hitting singles right now. We got spoiled when we went though that one period against Toronto in May where he was hitting balls to left field with a lot of power. That was fun to watch, but I dont think anybody really maintain that all season.

Celtics Hall of Fame legend Bill Russell was visiting in the Red Sox dugout at Safeco Field prior to Friday nights game. Boston Mayor Tom Menino also was in attendance after flying to the West Coast on Friday morning.

David Ortiz has homered four times in his last seven games, and is now only one home run away from recording his eighth consecutive 25-homer season with the Red Sox. Ortiz will move out of a tie with Hall of Famer Jim Rice, who had seven 25-homer seasons, on the Red Sox list and sit in sole possession of second place behind the 14 25-plus-homer seasons put together by Ted Williams during his career.

Jed Lowrie ended the longest homerless drought of his career at 44 games with his fifth-inning blast off Blake Beavans. It was his first home run since an April 20 game against the Oakland As that seems like it was six years ago.

Dustin Pedroias sacrifice bunt in the seventh inning was the first sacrifice bunt by a Red Sox cleanup hitter since Ellis Burks did it on Aug. 30, 1990.

Mike Aviles recorded his first RBI for Boston in Friday nights win. He was acquired from Kansas City at the trade deadline.

The J.D. Drew situation is quickly moving to a conclusion of some kind as the oft-injured right fielder took batting practice with the team Friday at Safeco Field and tested the strength of his injured left shoulder.

Drew will keep working out with his Red Sox teammates at Safeco through the weekend, and its expected that the player and team will re-evaluate at the end of the three-game series against the Mariners.

Dont expect Drew to simply get activated and jump back onto the 25-man roster even if everything goes swimmingly through the weekend. It sounds like there may be a decision forthcoming when the team returns to Boston briefly next week.

Drew hasnt played in a game since July 20 and would seem to need a minor-league rehab stint in order to regain his timing. Stay tuned to see what happens with Drew once hes physically able to play.

The Sox have set up their starting rotation for next Tuesday's doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway, and it wont include an outing for lefty Andrew Miller as originally anticipated. Instead Miller may make a start against the Royals in Kansas City next weekend, which would give one of Boston's other starters an extra day of rest.

Jon Lester and Erik Bedard will pitch the doubleheader against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, and John Lackey will pitch the final game of the series on Wednesday.

Miller hasnt made a start since July 31 and a healthy Felix Doubront might be nipping at the leftys heels for a roster spot given his similar ability to start and come out of the bullpen.

Miller is going to be inserted in there most likely in one of the games against the Royals, said Francona. Pitching coach Curt Young and I are kind of sifting through, and we want to use it to our advantage. If one of those guys goes really long in one game then theres a bunch of scenarios. Say Lester or Lackey goes 120 pitches then we could insert Miller and with the days off it brings a lot of possibilities.

Bobby Jenks finally made it to Bostons minor-league complex in Fort Myers and has begun building up arm strength toward a return to the Sox roster. Jenks is slated to throw a bullpen on Tuesday and then will need to throw an additional three bullpens before hes anywhere close to being placed again on the active roster. Its looking more and more like Dan Wheeler is beginning to absorb some of those key innings expected to fall Jenks way when he signed his two-year, 12 million deal with the Sox.

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

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals:

QUOTES

“I hadn’t really thought about it. Trying to win games. It’s late in the year . . . I don’t really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We’re trying to win as a team.” - Dustin Pedroia on the importance of the 11-for-11 stretch in his career.

“It’s fun. It’s why you go to work in December, January, February. It’s all the work you put in up to this point. It feels good to go out there and get the results you expect to get, especially against a team like [the Royals] who is hot as they are right now.” - David Price on pitching meaningful games with a playoff-like atmosphere.

“Yeah, yeah we [knew about the streak] . . .  It was an awesome roll and it was fun to see . . . Every time I went up to hit, I let Salvador Perez know.” - Xander Bogaerts on Dustin Pedroia’s 11-for-11 streak.

“I think we’ve been able to handle velocity very well. We’ve got good bat-speed in out lineup, and we’re able to handle that.” - John Farrell on the offense thriving against good pitching.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz played in his 1,000th game at Fenway Park, becoming the fifth player to do so.

* Ortiz also became the first player ever to play 2,000 games as the designated hitter.

* Mookie Betts scored his 100th run of the season off his 29th home run of the year, joining Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams as the only players to reach 100 runs before turning 24.

* The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth time this season with Betts and Hanley Ramirez going yard in the fifth.

* With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. improved to 34-for-94 (.362) batting ninth.

 

STARS

1) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia finished 4-for-5, extending his streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats, finishing one shy of tying the MLB record.

2) David Price

Price logged his fourth straight quality start with his six-inning, two-run start. He also dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since his Opening Day start with Boston.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez finished 2-for-3 with two home runs. Saturday marked only the second multi-home run game of his career.

First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

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First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox 8-3 win over the Kansas City Royals:

 

David Price has found a groove.

Price finally brought his ERA below 4.00.

He’d been about that mark since his second start of the season. Twenty-six starts later, he finally reached the mark.

Saturday’s start marked Price’s fourth-straight quality start. Price will soon eclipse the 200-strikeout, reaching 186 K’s with his seven-strikeout performance.

Although the lefty hasn’t been at his best throughout much of the year, he’s caught fire of late.

Possibly at the most important part of the season, too.

 

Dustin Pedroia just missed making history, can’t buy an out.

Boston’s second baseman entered Saturday with seven hits in his last seven at-bats. He stretched that streak to 11-for-11 with a 4-for-4 game.

He had the chance to go 12-for-12 in the eighth, but weakly grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

He’s also the first Red Sox player with three straight four-hit games at Fenway Park since 1913.

Boston’s second baseman continues to prove that his struggles in recent years were directly related to injuries, not diminishing performance.

 

The offense passed a big test.

It might’ve appeared that Danny Duffy was a middle-of-the-road pitcher with the way Red Sox hitters tattooed him in Saturday’s win.

But the right only had one loss in 19 starts, with a 2.66 ERA (2.61 as a starter).

Between the long balls and Dustin Pedroia’s incessant ways of late, they ballooned his ERA to 3.01.

A respectable number, still, but a jump of nearly a half of a run.

 

Sandy Leon’s in a minor cold spell.

Possibly the greatest story of Boston’s 2016 offense, Leon hasn’t had too many struggles along the way.

But after finishing 0-for-4 Saturday night, he’s only 2-for-21 (.095) in his last five games.

Saturday also marked only the third time all season where he was held hitless in back-to-back games.

These things happen to everyone, but it was starting to look like Leon didn’t fall under the category of “everyone.”