Until the season's dying breath, Adrian Gonzalez maintained his unyielding faith that the Red Sox would snap out of a monthlong free fall and sneak into the playoffs.

Three weeks later, he still seeks a reason for why that didn't happen.

Gonzalez hasn't found it in reports of the in-game beer-drinking habit of three pitchers or the disclosure of deposed manager Terry Francona's personal demons. The All-Star first baseman looks within, pondering injuries that limited him to one RBI in the last seven games, and refuses to make excuses.

"I've talked to (second baseman Dustin) Pedroia a lot, talked to (center fielder) Jacoby (Ellsbury) a lot, and we're all disappointed," Gonzalez said yesterday in a lengthy interview with the Herald. "We're mad at ourselves that we allowed all of this to happen."