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Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Pedroia named AL Player of Month for July

By Gordon Edes

BOSTON -- To the surprise of absolutely no one paying attention, Dustin Pedroia was named the American League Player of the Month for July, giving the Sox back-to-back winners, as Adrian Gonzalez won for the month of June.

Pedroia had a monster month offensively, one that included most of his 25-game hitting streak, longest of his career, that came to end last weekend in Chicago. He batted .411 (46 for 112), highest in the majors for players with at least 84 plate appearances, and he also led the majors in hits, slugging percentage and total bases, while tying for first in runs and extra base hits.

His 8 home runs were the most by a Sox second baseman since Felix Mantilla hit 10 in 1964, and his 46 hits were most by any Sox player in the month of July since 1939, when Bobby Doerr (52), Ted Williams (48) and Jimmie Foxx (47) all had more. The '39 team played 33 games in July, 7 more than the '11 Sox.

Tale of the tape -- Dustin Pedroia vs. the American League's two All-Star second basemen, Robinson Cano of the Yankees, who won the fans' vote, and Howie Kendrick of the Angels, who was added by AL manager Ron Washington:

Pedroia: .411 BA, .465 OBP, .723 SGP, 1.188 OPS
Cano: .311 BA, .359 OBP, .500 SGP, .859 OPS
Kendrick: .286 BA, .348 OBP, .357 SGP, .705 OPS

But as terrific as Pedroia's offense was, ESPN researcher Mark Simon passes on this illuminating note about Pedroia's defense:

Pedroia leads all MLB second basemen in Defensive Runs Saved with 12. His Defensive Runs Saved total increased by 7 runs in July. The numbers suggest, Simon said, that the Sox are getting more outs on ground balls hit to Pedroia's right, where a second baseman tends to field the majority of his ground balls. Pedroia's "plus-minus" rating is significantly higher in that regard.

One other defensive note: There has been a huge upgrade in the Sox outfield, no surprise given the injuries that knocked out Jacoby Ellsbury and severely limited (and ultimately KO'd) Mike Cameron. Last season, the three outfield positions combined for -41 Defensive Runs Saved (meaning they cost the team 41 runs). This season, they began the week with a combined for 30 Defensive Runs Saved, second in the majors to the Angels.