This was supposed to be the game Adrian Gonzalez pulled a Babe Ruth.
Well, at least according to Gonzalez.
On Wednesday night, looking ahead to Thursday’s game against the Rays, Gonzalez said via mlb.com, "I'll start hitting home runs. I'll hit a home run tomorrow."
True, Gonzalez predicted his home run in a much less dramatic fashion than Ruth but he predicted it nonetheless.
OK, so it wasn’t that bold a statement. It wasn't the Babe. A slugger told everyone he’d hit a home run.
He should hit home runs. That's what sluggers do.
But he didn’t follow through on that prediction. Gonzalez went 0-3 and was hit by a pitch in the top of the first.
He came awfully close to hitting a home run in the top of third taking a fastball by Tampa Bay Rays' pitcher Matt Moore down the right field line that went just foul.
Gonzalez almost got his groove back.
But he struck out looking on the next pitch and flipped his bat in disgust. He looked back at the umpire in disbelief.
Gonzalez has been complaining about umpires lately:
"How are you supposed to have a professional at-bat with these umpires nowadays? Gosh.” (cbssports.com)
"When they're good, you can be comfortable up there. You know what the strike zone is. When they're not, you have to go up there and hack. It's frustrating." (mlb.com)
After all the complaining, once again, no home run.
In fact, Gonzalez hasn’t hit many home runs at all for the Boston Red Sox. In his brief Red Sox career he’s hit 29 home runs in 780 at bats.
In 2009, playing for the San Diego Padres, he hit 40 home runs in 681 at bats.
Something just isn’t right with Gonzo.
The rest of the lineup handled Moore just fine.
Marlon Byrd hit a home run against Moore. Cody Ross hit a home run against Moore.
Gonzalez was hit by Moore.
In fact, that turned out to be the most interesting part of Gonzalez’s night.
Following his prediction he would hit a home run, Rays’ pitcher David Price retweeted the following tweet from a fan:
It’s impossible to know if Moore hit Gonzalez on purpose, but Gonzalez’s prediction may have fueled the fire.
Speculation continued in the third inning when B.J. Upton was awarded first on a catcher's interference call. Boston's starting pitcher Felix Doubront then hit Rays' DH Luke Scott in the back.
It was not clear if it was retaliation for Moore hitting Gonzalez in the first inning, but Gonzalez’s comments certainly didn't help.
During the game Mike Cole of nesn.com wrote:
We have to mention that Upton was at second because Doubront hit Luke Scott in the back with a pitch. That's noteworthy because Adrian Gonzalez—the man who said he would hit a home run tonight—got hit with a pitch in the first inning. We'll have to keep an eye on that.
Gonzalez had his fingerprints all over this game. Unfortunately for Red Sox fans, those fingerprints came in the form of a star who can’t seem to find his way out his power funk.