Gonzalez, who will man second base at Camden Yards, got some pretty sound advice from his manager before first pitch.
“I told him just be Rickey Henderson today and hit a few home runs,” Alex Cora said on a Zoom press conference. “His on-base percentage against righties has been solid. I know the numbers aren’t there but it’s kind of like a long at-bat with him all the time. It’s a grind. We saw it yesterday. We’ve seen it throughout. Just get on base with those guys behind.”
Cora noted he thought about having Alex Verdugo lead off Friday night, but ultimately decided against it.
“We were playing with the idea of putting those two lefties (Verdugo and Rafael Devers) together to lead off. Alex to lead off and Raffy. Actually, I sent a text message last night with a lineup with that,” Cora said. “And this morning I started looking at other stuff and information, and I don’t feel prepared to do that. I just like where Raffy is behind those two righties and having Alex in front of them. So far it has worked. And just putting a switch-hitter (Gonzalez) in front of them and someone who as a left-handed hitter, his on-base percentage is higher than a lot of guys that we have, I just went with him.”
We’ll see if Gonzalez will channel his inner Henderson.
Red Sox-Orioles first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.