Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Infectious Adrian Gonzalez

No science behind this one, just a theory.  If you couldn't tell over the last five years, I like to come up with theories like this.  I said the 2009 Red Sox had all caught the disease that is JD Drew's attitude.  So far, this team has already exceeded my expectations, as I didn't think it was the kind of team that could piece together a nine-game winning streak.  They did that.  They've won 14 of 18, and Red Sox hitters have taken home the AL Player of the Week in each of the last three weeks (Ortiz, Crawford, 46). 

This year's team, especially in the last few weeks when they've completely caught fire (with the exception of tonight), have learned something from Adrian Gonzalez.

Why do I say that?  Just look at the way these guys are hitting, specifically looking at Crawford and 46 compared to the beginning of the season.  Also, look at Ortiz compared to previous seasons with the exception of 2007.  The bottom line is, all three of these guys have started to hit in the image of Adrian Gonzalez.  All three are lefties, and all three have drastically changed their approach.  You might want to give Dave Magadan a little bit of credit, but that guy has been there for five years.  Everyone seems to be learning from Gonzalez.

I don't have the motivation to download any hit charts, but I think it's safe to say I watch enough Red Sox baseball to see that these guys are spraying the field now more than any other time.  Especially Ortiz and 46.  All three of these guys have just relaxed at the plate and gone with whatever half-decent pitch is being thrown at them.  No need to be a hero, no need to swing for the fences (that's right, 46), just get up to the plate and get a hit.  If it happens to go 450, it happens to go 450.  In baseball, you very rarely need to be a hero.

We already know that about Gonzalez, who has three hits against freaking Shields tonight.  But that's what he does.  That's what he's always done.  He's walking a little bit less, and that's great.  But while the Red Sox have walked at nearly the same rate that they have been walking all year, these three guys (who have really propelled this hot streak) have walked 27 (Ortiz), 22 (Gonzalez), 9 (Crawford), and 20 (46) times.  Pedroia's walked 45 times, by comparison, and Drew, who only really plays half the time, has 24.  These three players have really discarded the overbearing emphasis on plate patience and trying to draw walks, instead plate patience so they can do something with a pitch over the plate.

This is the way Gonzalez has always played.  The scouting report dictates that Gonzalez is a player who hits the ball with power to all fields, and that's accurate.  That's why he's thrived at the little league park, and that's why he's hitting nearly .350.  He just goes with whatever's pitched with him.  And that's why the Red Sox decided to extend him.

The fact that perhaps because of him, everyone else is doing it too, is just an added benefit.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

DV

The fact that Dustin Pedroia has walked twice as many times as Adrian Gonzalez is maybe the craziest stat I've heard all year.

Gonzalez just keeps getting better and better. And really, with 13 home runs, I don't think we've seen him take off from a power standpoint just yet. As hard as it may be to imagine, I think we'll see even better production as the warm weather rolls in.

Nothing ruins a winning streak like a day off.

And let's hope the Bruins pull it out tonight. I'm no hockey fan and I've at most watched what would amount to about one full game this entire postseason. Still, it's a Boston team and it would be great for them and their fans to pull out a huge win on the road.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

Gunn,

The Bruins are the only Boston team still on the hook right now. You can't ask for much more from the Pats, Sox, Celtics than you've gotten recently.

Also, I'm just glad to see the Sox still can't beat the Rays to save their lives. This is aggravating. Every team has teams like this that they struggle against. For the Sox it's been the Rays, White Sox, and Ranger recently.

bandi