Are the Red Sox gearing up for Adrian Gonzalez?

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Boston signing John Lackey and Mike Cameron has Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune thinking that the Red Sox are preparing to make another run at Adrian Gonzalez.
And sure enough FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal wrote this morning that they’re “working hard to obtain” the Padres first baseman.
Center tosses out Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, and Daniel Bard as obvious Padres targets, while Rosenthal mentions Casey Kelly and Ryan Westmoreland as other fits if the Red Sox haven’t made them untouchable.
Of course, Center writes that “at the moment the Padres and Red Sox are not talking” and Rosenthal admits that “a deal is not close and might not happen at all.” San Diego is under no real pressure to deal Gonzalez, because he’s a 27-year-old, MVP-caliber player under contract for just $4.75 million in 2010 and $5.5 million in 2011. Obviously dealing Gonzalez would jump-start the Padres’ rebuilding efforts, but he’s young enough that they could also try to rebuild around him.
The presence of Kevin Youkilis and now Mike Cameron give the Red Sox lots of defensive flexibility, because Youkilis can play either corner infield spot and Cameron is willing to be a starter anywhere in the outfield. All of which is why the Red Sox could potentially part with Ellsbury in a deal for Gonzalez or forget the whole thing and simply sign Adrian Beltre.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.