So, I had the opportunity to attend my second Red Sox game of the season this weekend. (Putting my personal record at 2-0 this year, by the way.) Having now been able to see him in person twice, I feel comfortable making the following statement. Adrian Gonzalez is really good. No, really.
I know. I’ve seen his numbers. I knew he could hit just by researching a little bit. But sitting in the stands seeing the whole field really gives you a great vantage point to see what he’s really all about. Three things really stand out to me. The first two were at the home opener. The Yankees were using a nasty shift on him. So, he decided that the best thing to do would be to go against it. He effortlessly drove the ball to the hole where the shortstop would normally be playing. It didn’t look like a guy trying to slap it the other way. It looked like a player who usually hit the ball there, and was glad there wasn’t a defender there this time. He also dropped a bunt down later in that game. People can say all they want that if Gonzalez is hitting singles, then the other team is getting what they want. I’m willing to bet that the other team doesn’t want a runner on base for Kevin Youkilis. As I’ve been saying for years to David Ortiz, even bunting a little bit helps you out. Every step back to their regular position the defense takes, the better of you are when you pull the ball. The last example happened yesterday. Gonzalez drove a double to the opposite gap. Again, not slapped. He drove it the other way in a manner I haven’t seen since Manny was tossed under a bus. While I’m not ready to put Gonzalez in the same class as Manny Ramirez, I think I’m going to like having him on the team for the next seven years.
Another obvious observation? Jed Lowrie is making things tough on Terry Francona. There are quite a few people struggling at the plate for the Sox. (Yup, Captain Obvious strikes again) But, only Marco Scutaro seems to have a replacement available. It’ll take a much longer struggle for Mike Cameron to replace Carl Crawford. But, for Jed Lowrie overtake Scutaro? It may have already happened.
How nice to be able to talk about a few things that are going well for the Red Sox though. Sometimes it’s just a mental thing too. Zero wins just sticks out at you. One win isn’t much better. Once you get to four or five…it’s mentally a much nicer total. Hopefully this will let the whole team just relax a bit, and play like they’re supposed to. This is how it’s supposed to have been all year.
It’s getting to be fun again.