Saturday, May 25, 2013
Too early to talk Pedroia MVP?
By Tony Lee, Special to ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- On May 25, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell ever so gently dropped second baseman Dustin Pedroia's name into the early most valuable player discussions.
A few hours later, Pedroia made his own mark on the argument, if there even is one at this early stage of the season.
Dustin Pedroia slides into second on his go-ahead double in the eighth inning.
Pedroia went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, including one to drive in the go-ahead run in the eighth, as the Sox came back for a 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians. Pedroia's average rose to .337, including .396 at home.
"He's the guy we want at the plate in a key moment," Farrell said. "He's not afraid to take a borderline pitch if it's a strike. He doesn't panic if he's down in the count, and we've seen many times throughout the course of his career that he's got the ability to fight off good pitchers' pitches to stay alive and see if he gets a mistake on the plate. Today, it was just an 0-2 slider that stayed in the middle of the plate that he doubled off the wall."
In a brief meeting with the media after the game, Pedroia deflected praise in four quick answers, also finding time to compliment the Indians bullpen, which lost a lead. He barely said anything about himself. But players of Pedroia's caliber can let their actions do the talking.
The 2008 American League MVP has hit safely in 16 of his past 17 games overall, batting .406 (that number again) in that span. He is 17-for-33 (.515) in his past eight games at Fenway. And the two-time Gold Glover, who has yet to commit an error, has played some of the best defense of his career.
In addition, Pedroia is also the only player in all of baseball to have played 50 games.
Then again, that means there's 112 to go, much too much time for the MVP debate to begin. For now, heaps of praise for Pedroia will have to do.
"That guy's a stud," catcher David Ross said. "I don't expect anything but great things from him. That guy is one of the best competitors, maybe the best competitor I've ever been around. Watching him in '08, I knew he was one of the better teammates I've ever been around. Just as far as how he brings it every day. It's hard to get your body up to play this game 162 times and bring your A-game every night, and he does it every single time."
When dropping MVP hints pregame, Farrell also said he does not foresee giving Pedroia a break anytime soon. If he tried to sit Pedroia in the midst of a vintage hot streak, then Farrell might have an argument on his hands.