Gonzalez mired in 0-for-17 slump
May, 3, 2012
By Steven Krasner | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- His manager wanted to give him an excuse.
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesAdrian Gonzalez isn't happy after striking out with the bases loaded to end the seventh.
But Adrian Gonzalez refused to take it, even poking his head into the manager's office to tell Bobby Valentine that no excuses are necessary.
Gonzalez, the Red Sox first baseman, failed to deliver in two crucial situations Wednesday night as Boston fell to Oakland, 4-2, in the rubber game of the three-game set at Fenway Park.
He went 0-for-4, lengthening a slump that has reached 0-for-17, dropping his average to .250.
"This game is all on me," said Gonzalez. "I had two good opportunities and failed to come through. I will make it a point not to let that happen again."
Gonzalez' first big chance came in the seventh. The Sox were trailing, 4-1, but had the bases loaded with two outs. Gonzalez, batting cleanup, struck out on a 1-and-2 pitch from Ryan Cook. He tipped the ball, but it was held by Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki for strike three and the final out of the inning, prompting the normally placid Gonzalez to slam his bat into the dirt in frustration.
His second opportunity came in the ninth, after Dustin Pedroia's two-out double had made it a 4-2 game. Pedroia stole third during the at-bat, but the inning and the game ended when Gonzalez bounced out to third base against left-hander Brian Fuentes.
"He's just tired," said manager Bobby Valentine of Gonzalez. "He has played all the time. His timing and recognition of the strike zone is just a little off. He hasn't said he's tired. He was here for early BP. When the strike zone leaves you a little and you're late on some pitches you might be a little mentally tired. He'll be fine."
Gonzalez disagreed. He said he wasn't tired.
"Not at all," said Gonzalez. "I feel good. It's one of those things, those two at-bats when I should have come through at least once and I didn't. I feel great physically. I'm just a click off on my timing, a little late on the fastballs, a little ahead of the off-speed pitches. This is only three or four games.
"I'm always looking for a pitch to drive and I haven't been able to do that the last four games. But I'll do it Friday (after an off day on Thursday)," said Gonzalez as his chat ended with the media and he walked to the doorway of the manager's office for a few words.