During the prime of his career with the San Diego Padres, Adrian Gonzalez routinely hit 30 home runs and 30 doubles per season. Gonzalez maintained that production in 2011, his first season with the Boston Red Sox, but since joining the Dodgers in 2012, the first baseman’s home run power has been noticeably absent.
Gonzalez hit three home runs as a Dodger in 2012 and followed it up with 22 in 2013. Through 12 games this season, Gonzalez has hit four home runs, the latest an opposite field blast, which the first baseman attributes to being able to better finish his swing, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
My finish is coming back, Gonzalez said. It’s something that’s more mechanical than physical. If I can have a high finish and long finish like that, the ball will have more carry.
Despite holding a six-game hitting streak when the three-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks began on Friday, Gonzalez was hitting below .200, but didn’t view it as a time to panic, via Hernandez:
You don’t panic, ever, he said. When you’ve been around and you’ve had success, you know what it takes and you know what you need to do. The most important thing is your routine, your preparation.
While Gonzalez has shown improvement in his home run swing through the first three weeks of the season, the likelihood of him matching his single-season high of 40 home runs in 2009, isn’t in the Dodgers’ favor. However, with a lineup that includes Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez, Gonzalez doesn’t need to be the primary source of power.
What the Dodgers can continue to expect from the left-handed hitting first baseman is plenty of RBIs. In six of the last seven seasons, Gonzalez has had at least 100 RBIs and appears to be well on his way to posting another season of more than 100 as he already is up to 11 this year.
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