Through the first half of the season, Adrian Gonzalez received an avalanche of criticism. The absence of power prompted outsiders to render the first baseman's trade and signing another mistake from the Theo Epstein era.
At the All-Star break, he was nowhere near his elite form. In 86 contests to that point, Gonzalez had blasted just six home runs, 45 RBIs and was hitting .283 with a .745 on-base plus slugging percentage.
But he's rebounded back in dramatic fashion. Sunday's 14-1 rout over the Indians provided another example of his turnaround, as Gonzalez launched a two-run blast and finished with two hits and four RBIs.
"It's always fun to win like that," Gonzalez told reporters in Cleveland. "It's good going into the off day."
Following the Midsummer Classic, Gonzalez is already eclipsing those first-half totals, clubbing seven home runs, 35 RBIs and batting .393 with a 1.108 OPS in 28 games.
Suddenly, he's re-discovered his power stroke, that swing that resulted in 76 homers from 2008-2009. It's that capability that earned him a seven-year, $154 million deal.
Before the Red Sox embarked on the lengthy road trip, Dustin Pedroia was mesmerized by his teammate's sudden emergence.
"He's swinging the bat great," Pedroia said. "Every time I get on there, it's like he's hitting the ball down the line or into the gap. He's driving in a lot of runs. He's unbelievable right now."
It's a far cry from where Gonzalez was at back in April, May and June. During those stretches –– and with men on base –– the first baseman found himself whiffing and failing to produce in clutch situations.
In retrospect, Gonzalez cited his past shoulder injury's impact on his swing. Now that he's made adjustments and completely trusts his shoulder, the results are starting to return to his premier status.
With Pedroia, Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury each setting the table in their own ways, the success is rubbing off on Gonzalez.
"When you have those three guys on base all the time, it means we’re going to score runs," Gonzalez said.
And these days, he's the one driving them in.
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