Results tagged ‘ Dustin Pedroia ’

Pedroia on the bases

After stealing two bases last night, Dustin Pedroia is on pace to snag 30 bags this season, 10 more than he finished with last year.

The interesting part of this is that Pedroia was in a steals slump earlier in the year. In April, he had three steals and was caught three times.

“You know what, I actually thought early in the season, he got thrown out a couple of times and I thought he was not as aggressive for a while,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “Was trying to tell him, it’s a hard conversation because we don’t like making outs on the bases but he’s such a good baserunner and he’s so conscientious, it’s like, not that he panicked, but he looks in like,’I can’t get thrown out like that.’ I’m like, ‘you’re alright, you’re a good baserunner.'”

“And he’s a very good basestealer. I thought it was more of an anomaly. It just happened a couple of times early in the season. I like when he runs. He’s a very good baserunner. If our guys, like Ellsbury, are good at what they do, we don’t want to stop them. I think that’s a little bit of a misrepresentation. We like the guys to steal but we just want to make sure they’re  safe.”

In May, Pedroia was 5-for-6 and he’s 4-for-4 this month.

Sunday subs

Not your average Red Sox lineup out there today.

No Pedroia, no Ortiz, no Varitek and no Drew.

It’s just a day off for Pedroia, who has four hits in his last 38 at-bats. Varitek caught 13 innings Friday and a long night last night, so he gets a rest today. With an off-day Monday and Wake pitching Tuesday, ‘Tek actually will have three days off in a row. J.D. Drew got smoked in the right shoulder by a pitch Saturday, so he’s sore. Rocco only played half the game, so he’s fine to go to today. And Ortiz is simply a product of National League rules and a lefty on the mound.

Here is the lineup.

Lugo SS
Ellsbury CF
Youkilis 1B
Bay LF
Lowell 3B
Baldelli RF
Green 2B
Kottaras C
Beckett P

Leftovers from a wild night at Fenway

Wow, was there ever a lot going on at Fenway last night! It was hard to include it all in the game coverage, so here are some leftovers.

Takashi Saito has pitched in a lot of non-pressure situations this season, not as a reflection of him, but because of how dominant the rest of the bullpen has been. Saito’s inning and a third of shutout relief wound up being crucial on Thursday, given Boston’s comeback win. It was Saito’s 100th career win when you combine his work in Japanese pro baseball, and his first with the Red Sox.

“There are many pitchers out there with better numbers than I have, but to put it very simply I am very happy today, more than anything I’m happy that I was able to get my first win as a member of the Red Sox,” said Saito.

As for Saito’s former teammate with the Dodgers and current teammate Brad Penny, he was stunningly electric last night. I would say Penny’s shoulder has come all the way back from the right shoulder woes of a year ago. His fastball was exploding into the upper 90s, as he fired six shutout innings against the Yankees.

“I would say my mechanics are getting a little better,” Penny said. “I’m staying behind the ball and driving off my back foot.”

Then there is Big Papi. The big man with the big swing and the even bigger slump is finally getting hot. He crushed that homer against Sabathia, staying on the ball perfectly and belting it like the Papi of Old instead of an Old Papi.

“When I hit the ball oppo like that, it’s a sign that I’m waiting for the ball good. I’m trying to stay through the ball. I’ve been feeling a lot better at the plate,” Ortiz said.

“That was a good swing,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “He’s getting better and better every day and that’s a huge sign for us.”

Then there is Nick Green, who has started the last five games and turned Julio Lugo invisible. The play he made in the ninth might have been a game-saver.

“Not too many shortstops make that play,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

Papelbon actually told Green the play won them the game, though a lot of others think it was Pedroia’s 10-pitch walk.

Either way, the Red Sox seem to be rounding into form at just the right time, heading into a weekend series with the defending World Series champions.

“It’s not just that we’re getting momentum by winning games,” Papelbon said. “I think we’re gaining  momentum with our players .David is starting to feel it, Josh is starting to feel it, our bullpen is starting to feel it. We just have to stay on this wave and ride it out.”

Pedroia, Kotsay and Twitter

Here we are live from Comerica Park, where Dustin Pedroia is again leading off for the Red Sox. J.D. Drew is again hitting second. Youkilis is third, Bay cleanup, Lowell fifth, Ortiz sixth and Nick Green starting at short for the third day in a row.

The way the offense is going now, Terry Francona feels that he needs his best on-base players at the top of the lineup. He even mentioned the new look being at least partly a by-product of Ortiz’s on-going struggles.

Mark Kotsay is on the active roster; Jeff Bailey has gone back to Pawtucket.

And just to let you know again, I have joined the new wave known as Twitter. There are a lot of times where it’s going to be quicker for me to Tweet something than to post a whole new blog entry. Just to be clear, I won’t be blogging any less, so don’t worry about that! There will still be at least one new thread every game I am at. But you will get more info from me — and more timely info from me — by also following me on twitter.

So all of you should get in the habit of following me on twitter.

@IanMBrowne is where you can find me.

Looking for spark, Tito switches lineup

With the Red Sox doing close to nothing offensively in the five games that preceded Sunday’s finale in Toronto, manager Terry Francona switched around the lineup to try to change the results.

Dustin Pedroia was moved to leadoff. Jacoby Ellsbury moved to eighth. And for the first time in his Red Sox career, J.D. Drew batted second. This, with lefty Ricky Romero on the mound for Toronto.

Youkilis is hitting third, with Jason Bay in the cleanup spot, followed by Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Ellsbury and Nick Green. Lugo is on the bench again, with Tito feeling that Green’s range is necessary with Lester pitching on turf.

And for all of you Tweeters out there — or Twitterers — or whatever you want to call it — I am now a member. Check me out at IanMBrowne.

Papi pounds Orioles; Pedroia gets in swing

David Ortiz came into the day hitting .170 with no homers, four RBIs, 14 strikeouts, a .255 OBP and a .191 slugging percentage.

In other words, he came into the day with the scrutiny of Red Sox Nation all around him. What is the matter with Big Papi?

It was a New York Times writer that broached the subject with Red Sox manager Terry Francona before the game. And Tito, per usual, was fiercely loyal to his veteran.

“I think right now, you’re seeing a guy that’s in between. Fastballs getting by him and he’s ahead of the breaking ball. Hitting is such a .. it can be intricate when it’s going bad and it can be easy when it’s going good, or simplified. When you hear every hitter … just about … when they’re going really well, they’ll tell you the same thing. ‘Boy, I’m just seeing the ball good.’
And they don’t think about a whole lot else.

“When you’re not going good, you can see where the umpire is behind the pitcher, you see the resin bag, you see the scoreboard, you see the camera, you see everything but the ball. And everything looks fast. And once you get to a position and you can hit a ball and you’re in a good position and you square it up, everything seems to slow down. I don’t know exactly why that is. We’ve all been through it and it can be awful and it can be really good. And just as awful, it usually gets that good. That’s kind of the, I don’t know, the uniqueness of hitting is. Guys get to their level. They just don’t always do it in the most consistent manner.”

Then the questioner wondered if Ortiz, because he is approaching his mid 30s, could be well, heading for his own type of Heartbreak Hill.

“Oh. Oohhh. You would be ahead of me on that one,” Francona said. “I think last year, his start, it wasn’t good. Whatever his first 50 at-bats were, weren’t good. I think I was answering similar questions last year at this time. I don’t even know how to answer that. I think he’s got so much more offense left in him.  He’s just having a tough time right now. I remember last year watching a game on TV and the announcers were wondering aloud why Carlos Delgado hadn’t been let go yet. They were pretty vocal about it. That’s probably you guys are doing your jobs and we’ll try to do ours. That’s just the way it is.”

And wouldn’t you know, Ortiz drilled a double off the wall today and a two-run triple to center.

I wondered if Francona would sit him this morning given the early start time and the fact the Red Sox were facing a 6-foot-10 lefty in Mark Hendrickson. But Francona thought that challenge would be good for Ortiz’s timing, and it wound up working out.

At any rate, Ortiz is a player who figures to be under the microscope for much of the year. But if today is any indication, there are still some hits left in that bat.

Speaking of revived hitters, Dustin Pedroia looks as if he is ready to resume his annual laster show. The little second baseman banged out four hits today and is now hitting .286.

Pedroia to return Friday

Just as the Red Sox were updating the situation on Kevin Youkilis, which doesn’t seem to be anything to fret about, it was revealed that Dustin Pedroia will be back in the lineup for Friday’s game against the Pirates. Pedroia will get two at-bats Friday, take BP on Saturday and then get about three at-bats on Sunday.

As for Youkilis, he will wear a boot on his foot for two to three days, then hopefully progress to batting practice, and perhaps game action at some point next week.

Bench coach Brad Mills will manage the Sox on Friday. Terry Francona will be attending the graduation of son Nick from Officer Candidate School.

Jetting back to the Fort

Yes, the return of Brownie Points is coming. When last I was in Fort Myers five days ago, it was a slow camp. It was by the far the slowest Spring Training in my eight years on the Red Sox beat. And then I left and all you know what broke loose.

Lugo, surgery. Pedroia, injured, and out of the World Baseball Classic. Jon Lester, signed for five years. Jason Bay, no contract extension this spring. Josh Bard, out of a job. Kevin Youkilis, now out of the World Baseball Classic.

Wow. Quite literally, there was NOTHING going on when last I left Fort Myers. Now we have an official Red Sox Spring Training in full motion.

I land in Fort Myers after 11 tonight. Back in to blog and story mode tomorrow.

Later,

Ian.

Lester, Youk, Lugo and other topics

This is obviously terrific news for the Red Sox that Jon Lester is seemingly on the verge of signing a five-year deal, $30 million that includes a $14 million option for 2013. So now the Red Sox, going into the next four to five years, know that they can depend on a sturdy nucleus of Pedroia, Youkilis, Lester and Ellsbury.

It is so hard to find a big, strong lefty like Lester that you can anchor a staff around, so you knew the Red Sox would pounce at the first opportunity to get him secured for the forseeable future.

Of course, the Jonathan Papelbon situation is still year to year, and you wonder if the sides will ever meet up there. Papelbon has made it clear that he wants to get his maximum worth, and the Red Sox might eventually deem that they can get someone like Daniel Bard to do the job at far less money.

Speaking of Bard, I don’t ever remember a prospect who was all but a lock not to make the team having a camp like this. He is just overpowering hitters.

The Red Sox are representing themselves well at the World Baseball Classic. A day after Dice-K got the win for Japan, Youkilis just obliterated a towering home run, his second longball in his many days. Dustin Pedroia might have broken out of his swing, golfing a pitch down the left field line for a double in Team USA’s big top of the sixth inning.

Meanwhile, in Fort Myers, the shortstop situation continues to be intriguing becuase Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie are both playing well.

“They both look good,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
“If that ends up being a dilemma, I’d rather have that happen than guys not
playing well.”

 

Lugo remains confident that he can be the player he was before coming to the Red Sox. 

“Things are going to take care of themselves as long as I’m healthy,” Lugo said.

And fans will be happy to know that the shortstop is working very hard on his defense this spring with new infield coach Tim Bogar.

“Very well, i think Bogar is going to be a big help to me,” Lugo said. “He’s letting me be myself and making plays the way I know how to make it and that’s the way it should be. That’s what got you here. Just refine those skills and that’s it.”

Dice-K at Dawn

Who are the truest baseball junkies out there? The correct answer is those of you who will set your alarm clocks so you can watch Daisuke Matsuzaka face Korea at 5 a.m. ET on Saturday. This World Baseball Classic encounter from Tokyo will be televised on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and yes, MLB.TV.

Under tournament rules, Matsuzaka is permitted to throw 70 pitches in his first-round start.

Those of you who need a Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay fix can check out Team USA vs. Canada at 2 p.m. on Saturday on ESPN. And Big Papi David Ortiz will be representing the Domincan Republic in an 11 a.m. encounter (ESPN 2) against the Netherlands.

Things are much quieter here in Fort Myers, where a home game Spring Training lineup features Josh Reddick, Jeff Bailey, Zach Daeges, Chip Ambres and Ivan Ochoa.

Ace Josh Beckett is nearing the completion of a three-inning outing. Jed Lowrie and Jacoby Ellsbury will make the trip to Port Charlotte tomorrow — “You’ll see those guys on every trip,” quipped Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

With the Marlins in town today, Alex Speier of WEEI.com used the timing element to write a nice blog entry on how close Manny Ramirez came to being a Marlin. Imagine how that could have changed the course of events? Would Manny still have wound up with the Dodgers this year? Would Manny have even approved a trade to the Marlins?

By the way, how utterly perplexing was Manny’s comment at the presser yesterday: “Sometimes you’re better off to have a two-year deal in a place that
you’re going to be happy than have an eight-year deal in a place that
you’re going to, you know, suffer.”

Suffer? Really? Did Manny suffer while winning two World Series? Did he suffer while earning $160 million in Red Sox dollars? Did he suffer while getting the trophy as World Series MVP in 2004? Did he suffer as fans adored him unconditionally for eight years, many of them who would write e-mails to every sportswriter who had the audacity to dare criticize Manny for one of his indiscretions? Did he suffer while teaming with David Ortiz to form one of the most dynamic 3-4 punches of this generation?

Suffer?!? If Manny ever plays at Fenway again, he will probably be greeted with the loudest round of boos in Red Sox history.

I will say one thing though. I did not “suffer” covering Manny during his time in Boston. He is the best pure hitter I’ve ever seen, and was always amusing to observe and, even when he allowed, to interact with.

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