Adrian Gonzalez has been up and down all season. But when judged by the lofty standards that the slugger — as well as Red Sox fans — hold himself to, it’s been a frustrating season for the first baseman.
Gonzalez came up short in another clutch situation on Wednesday night, striking out in the eighth inning of a one-run game that the Sox went on to lose 2-1. After the game, though, Gonzalez had some concerns about the strike zone of home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.
“I do have a question,” Gonzalez said to reporters after the game, according to ESPN.com. “How are you supposed to have a professional at-bat with these umpires nowadays? Gosh. The first pitch in my last at-bat wasn’t even close. You’re up there, trying to have a professional at-bat and look for a pitch to hit and that’s called?
“So it puts you in swing mode, the guy throws a good split and all of a sudden you’re 0-2,” he continued. “It should have been 1-0 and then he probably doesn’t throw a split. Unbelievable.
“In that at-bat I went up there looking for a fastball middle away. I got a fastball way away. You can’t swing if it’s not a strike. You’re looking for a pitch middle away, and it’s away and you know you can’t swing because it’s off and you’re 0-1.”
The Boston first baseman ended the evening 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, but the questionable calls were not exclusive to Wendelstedt on Wednesday night. Gonzalez also had a problem with the strike zone in Tuesday’s win over Seattle at Fenway Park with Jeff Kellogg behind the plate.
“[Tuesday] there were a couple of pitches that weren’t close and they were called strikes,” Gonzalez said, according to ESPN.com. “It put me behind two strikes and then you’ve got to protect. It’s unfortunate because you wish you could keep them on the plate and force them to come in, but that doesn’t happen anymore.”
Gonzalez went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on Tuesday. That performance, combined with Wednesday’s oh-fer, drops his average to .279 on the season, despite hitting at a .375 clip in the 11 games prior to Tuesday’s game.
The real concern with Gonzalez, however, has been his power numbers. He has just two home runs this season, and he hasn’t left the yard since April 17 in an 18-3 loss to the Rangers.
Despite that and supposedly subpar umpiring, Gonzalez says the power drought is about to end.
“I’ll start hitting home runs,” he told reporters, according to ESPN.com. “I’ll hit a homer [Thursday].”
Gonzalez will get a chance to back that up against Rays starter Matt Moore, a left-hander who Gonzalez has one hit against in five career at-bats.
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