Boston Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia predicts big things for 2015

January, 24, 2015
Jan 24
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- It’s not often an owner gets to do some trash-talking about a player, and Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner wasn’t about to pass up the chance. That’s how Dustin Pedroia found himself on the other end of a pingpong table facing one of his bosses at Saturday’s “Baseball Winter Weekend" at Foxwoods.

"They kind of blind-sided me with that," Pedroia said. "I haven’t played in like three years, but they said the owner’s playing and he’s telling TV he’s going to kick your ass, so I guess I’d better get down there.

"I played with him for a little bit, then I got my timing down and started spanking balls."

Clearly, a three-year layoff didn’t affect his forehand smash as Pedroia disposed of Werner. And now, after two straight years of surgery on his left hand related to his thumb, the Red Sox second baseman unabashedly predicts that baseballs will be jumping off his bat the way they did before he was hurt.

"The big difference, I got a chance to lift weights," Pedroia said. "My upper body, it’s been awhile. It kind of shriveled up, you know. Not anymore.

"That's part of what makes me good, being able to work out in the offseason and build up, maintain it over the year and always stay on my lifting program. Last year I couldn’t lift a dumbbell. I lifted [with] my legs. My legs were strong, defensively I was fine because my legs were strong. But the upper body, if you can’t do the things you want to do, you’re not going to have the bat speed you normally have. That’s changed."

Pedroia’s offense has declined in each of the past four seasons, from an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of .861 in 2011 to .797 in 2012, .787 in 2013 and a career-low .712 last season, which ended for him Sept. 11 when he underwent an operation on his left hand with the cumbersome name of FirstDorsal Compartment Release with Tenosynovectomy. The surgery is designed to relieve something known as De Quervain's tenosynovitis, a painful condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, a person with De Quervain's will experience pain with every turn of the wrist, while making a fist or trying to grasp something. The condition developed after Pedroia tore a ligament in his left thumb in the opening game of 2013, an injury with which he played while missing just two games the entire season.

Pedroia declared he is fully recovered. "I’m ready, ready to go," he said. "Everything, man. If it started tomorrow, I’d be good.

"I’m very excited. Obviously after last year, we didn’t play very well. We’ve got a lot of stuff to prove."

Manager John Farrell had suggested this winter that the team might look to give Pedroia a little more rest than in the past, but the player wasn’t hearing of it.

"I plan on playing 162," Pedroia said. "He said that because my numbers were impacted by that [last season]. I started 178 games [in 2013, including playoffs] with a torn thumb. Obviously I’m human. The next year you’re going to have a tough time.

"[But] I’m back. My body’s back. I feel strong. I’m lifting. Everything is right back to normal."

General manager Ben Cherington had said during the winter meetings that when he spoke with Pedroia, the player told him he was going to hit .460, a Pedroia-esque type declaration.

"That's probably hearsay, man," Pedroia shot back Saturday. "I only talked to him once. I don’t know, I might have hit him with a ball."

But Pedroia said he already has been hitting with authority in the offseason, and he expects even better results this spring.

"The ball’s going to go farther," he said. “The balls are going 400 feet now -- and then, when you add five miles an hour, I’m not a chemist or anything, it’s probably going to go 500."

The message, then, for the folks who sit on the Green Monster?

"Duck," he said.

Dustin Pedroia's Hall of Fame chances

September, 11, 2014
Dustin Pedroia's season is over due to season-ending hand surgery. As Gordon Edes reports, this is the third consecutive season Pedroia will have surgery for a hand-related issue, and you wonder if it's a chronic issue at this point.

Gordon also asks if, at age 31, Pedroia's best seasons are behind him:
Pedroia has seven years and $96.5 million left on the eight-year, $110 million contract extension he signed in July 2013, a deal that will take him through his 38th birthday.

Did the Red Sox bet on the wrong guy at the wrong position, especially at a time when they were under no compulsion to act? Pedroia, remember, still had two years left on his deal when the Sox tore up his existing contract and signed him to what was widely described as a team-friendly extension. It looked even better when Robinson Cano, whose own former Yankees teammate, Mariano Rivera, said was not Pedroia's equal, signed a 10-year, $240 million free-agent deal with the Seattle Mariners.

Pedroia finishes the season with a .278/.337/.376 line -- career lows in all three categories. I'd suggest Pedroia's decline has been the result of three things: (1) Natural aging; (2) The hand injuries; (3) The lower strike zone that has been called in recent years has allowed pitchers to pound him down low, away from his power zone.

Despite his size, Pedroia's hands were so quick he had always been able to turn on high fastballs and do damage -- especially at Fenway. But check his numbers against pitches classified as in the upper half of vertical location (all pitches, not just strikes) over the years:

2009: .278/.359/.453
2010: .298/.408/.582
2011: .332/.422/.573
2012: .318/.381/.578
2013: .222/.339/.355
2014: .262/.316/.405

The numbers have cratered the past few years and explain his decrease in power the past two seasons (16 home runs total, after hitting 15 in 2012 and 21 in 2011). Interestingly, Pedroia's line-drive rate this year was 23 percent, his highest mark going back to 2010, according to ESPN data. (Baseball-Reference had him at 25 percent, also a career high.)

At the same time, however, he's also hitting more groundballs and fewer fly balls. Thus, fewer home runs and doubles off the Monster. As pitchers throw more to the lower half of the zone, it makes sense that a hitter like Pedroia is going to hit more line drive and groundballs, since he doesn't necessarily have a natural loft in his swing.

Have we seen the best of Pedroia? Part of his offensive decline has been mirrored by the decline across the league, so he's still retained a lot of value. His defense is still strong. Baseball-Reference grades him at 4.7 Wins Above Replacement in 2014, tied for third among major league second basemen with Brian Dozier and Howie Kendrick, behind only Robinson Cano and Jose Altuve.

As for his Hall of Fame chances, his résumé so far begins with the two World Series titles and 2008 AL MVP Award. This is considered his age-30 season (he turned 31 in August); here are the career leaders in WAR among second basemen through age 30, via Baseball-Reference, and whether they made the Hall of Fame:


Do you think Dustin Pedroia eventually makes the Hall of Fame?


Discuss (Total votes: 1,152)

1. Rogers Hornsby: 90.4 (yes)
2. Eddie Collins: 76.3 (yes)
3. Joe Morgan: 54.1 (yes)
4. Frankie Frisch: 51.1 (yes)
5. Rod Carew: 49.9 (yes)
6. Roberto Alomar: 46.8 (yes)
7. Bobby Grich: 46.8 (no)
8. Robinson Cano: 45.1 (active)
9. Ryne Sandberg: 44.5 (yes)
10. Chuck Knoblauch: 44.1 (no)
11. Dustin Pedroia: 43.1 (active)
12. Lou Whitaker: 42.7 (no)
13. Willie Randolph: 42.6 (no)
14. Chase Utley: 42.1 (active)
15. Tony Lazzeri: 40.9 (yes, via Veterans Committee)

There are others below the top-15 who also made the Hall of Fame: Billy Herman, Bobby Doerr, Joe Gordon, Nellie Fox, Charlie Gehringer, Nap Lajoie and Bill Mazeroski. All except Gehringer and Lajoie were Veterans Committee selections. Craig Biggio -- 35.0 WAR through age 30 -- should also make it in this year.

Let's look at what some of these guys did after age 30, to see what Pedroia may have to do to get his career WAR into Hall of Fame range:

Alomar -- 20.0 (career: 66.8)
Sandberg -- 23.0 (career: 67.5)
Knoblauch -- 0.5 (career: 44.6)
Whitaker -- 32.2 (career: 74.9)
Randolph -- 22.9 (career: 65.5)
Utley -- 19.2 (career: 61.3, in age-35 season)

Whitaker and Randolph never received any love from Hall of Fame voters and haven't yet shown up on Veterans Committee ballots. They're two favorites of the stathead community. Knoblauch fell apart after turning 30. The best cases here would be Alomar and Sandberg, both of whom started declining in their early 30s but hung around long enough to build up enough career value to get them elected.

Is Pedroia viewed on their level? That's what I'm not sure about. He won the MVP Award and finished seventh and ninth in the voting two other times. Sandberg also won once and finished fourth twice and had a scattering of non-top-10 finishes. Alomar never won but finished in the top six on five occasions.

Obviously, MVP voting isn't the only thing to look but it serves as a reasonable proxy for how voters may view a player. So Pedroia's MVP results are comparable but a notch below those two.

I'd say Pedroia still needs five solid years to build a solid foundation for a Hall of Fame case -- 2-3 .300 seasons with good health are vital, to build some of those career counting numbers. He's still young enough where that can happen. Whether his hands will allow that to happen is the unknown. Ultimately, there's no reason why Pedroia shouldn't be able to accumulate 20 to 25 more career WAR. I think that gets him in -- maybe just below the Alomar/Sandberg line but above the Whitaker/Randolph line.

Pregame notes: Betts, Pedroia in lineup

August, 18, 2014
BOSTON -- A few quick notes from Fenway Park, where the news that Jackie Bradley Jr. had been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket came as a surprise even to the player recalled to take his roster spot.

Mookie Betts, returning to the Red Sox for the third time this season, is in Monday’s lineup against the Los Angeles Angels, batting eighth and playing center field. Betts said that while with Pawtucket this time around he spent the majority of his time playing center -- something he feels has led to vast improvements for him since his last time with the team.

Red Sox manager John Farrell spoke highly of what he saw from Betts last time up.

“We noticed that there was substantial improvement from the first time up here,” Farrell said. “I think he had about 40 games under his belt in the outfield before coming up here the first time. There were some routes that were still developing. Then when he came back to us the second time, I thought there was more range, more efficiency in those reads and those routes. I think that’s just getting acclimated to the position, particularly deep in center field.”

Pedroia back in lineup: After battling flu-like symptoms on Sunday and being sent home, Dustin Pedroia will return to the lineup, batting second.

Ross hopes to return: Catcher David Ross (plantar fasciitis) remains on track to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday pending the results of the work he gets in at Fenway on Monday.

“Today will have pretty much everything to determine that,” Farrell said. “He’s got a couple of bullpens he’s catching today. He’ll throw to the bases once again, he’ll do some running. How he comes out of today’s work will impact his activation.”

Craig begins rehab assignment: Outfielder Allen Craig (foot) will begin his rehab with Pawtucket on Monday night, serving as the team’s designated hitter. From there, Craig will likely get Tuesday off before playing the field Wednesday and Thursday. Farrell said the team will look to get Craig at-bats in three or four games with Pawtucket.

Upon Craig’s activation, he will likely share time in right field with the hot-hitting Daniel Nava (6-for-11, three RBIs in Houston series over the weekend) while Yoenis Cespedes continues to play left and Betts and Brock Holt platoon in center.

Pedroia gets the day off

July, 24, 2014
TORONTO -- Dustin Pedroia was not in the Red Sox lineup on Thursday, and manager John Farrell said it was a scheduled day off.

Pedroia broke an 0-for-17 skid with a first-inning single Wednesday night, but is batting just .083 (2 for 24) since the All-Star break.

Brock Holt, who sat Wednesday, is playing second base, which will make him the first Sox player ever to start games at seven different positions (all except pitcher and catcher).
BOSTON -- Part of the collateral damage from the Red Sox's first-half struggles came clear on Sunday, when Jon Lester was the team's lone representative named to the American League All-Star squad (although a second member, Koji Uehara, is in line to eventually pick up a spot).

No David Ortiz, no Dustin Pedroia, who have been regular participants in recent years. Ortiz had been selected nine of the last 10 years, Pedroia four of the last six.

Lester, who earned his third All-Star selection, still talks about the honor with stars in his eyes.

“This is what you want to do as a kid. You watch All-Star Games, you watch the playoffs on TV and you dream about one day hopefully being in that position,” Lester said. “And to live that dream and have that opportunity to go to three All-Star Games, and two World Series rings -- I don’t want to say it’s a dream come true because hopefully I have a few more World Series in me and all the other stuff to go along with it. Everyone in this room dreams about it as a kid.”

[+] EnlargeJon Lester
Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesJon Lester earned his third All-Star selection, but teammates David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia didn't make the cut.
The selection of Lester by Red Sox manager John Farrell is easily justified by the numbers.

Lester made a strong stamp on his All-Star resume in May when he fanned a career-high 15 batters in a win over Oakland. He followed that up with seven more strong starts. Since the beginning of June, Lester is 4-1 with an ERA of 1.65, striking out 39 batters in 49 innings and allowing just eight walks. He posted an ERA of 1.98 for the month of June, his best full month in nearly four years.

Currently, Lester ranks seventh in the AL in ERA (2.73) and strikeouts (122), and is tied for eighth in wins (9). Among AL lefties, Lester is second only to Tampa Bay’s David Price in K’s, and third to Toronto’s Mark Buehrle and Oakland’s Scott Kazmir in wins.

Farrell said that Lester and Uehara, who Farrell said is the first alternate replacement, have been playing “All-Star caliber baseball this entire first half of the season.”

“When you look at what Jon’s been able to do in terms of where he stacks up with other starters -- top five or top six in most pitching categories -- he has earned the selection,” Farrell said.

While it’s assumed that Uehara eventually will be added to the AL squad -- several starters are lined up to pitch on Sunday -- the reliever was cautious when approached about the All-Star Game. Asked through a translator if he was surprised about not getting selected initially, Uehara said, “No, not at all,” adding with a laugh, “I have some things to do during the All-Star break myself.”

Ortiz and Pedroia expressed similar indifference despite their popularity in the polls. Ortiz finished third among AL designated hitters with 2.4 million votes, while Pedroia finished fourth among AL second basemen with 1.8 million.

Pedroia laughed when asked about any disappointment, saying “[I’m going to] get some sleep, man.”

Ortiz had several conversations with Farrell about his potential selection, with Ortiz essentially ceding his spot.

“I’m a fan of guys who have had a really, really good first half making the All-Star Game, and there’s a couple guys ahead of me this year at my position,” Ortiz said. “We had a conversation, and [Farrell] asked me how I feel about it, and I said I just don’t feel like taking those guys’ places.

"I don’t think it’s fair to guys like Nelson Cruz and Victor [Martinez] and [Edwin] Encarnacion, who are having unbelievable seasons, they don’t have as many All-Star Games as I have. You just keep it real. They’re having a better season than what I’m having, and they well deserved it.”
John Lackey, Jon Lester Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesThe Sox hope John Lackey and Jon Lester can shut down the Orioles in Saturday's doubleheader.
BOSTON -- Saturday's forecast calls for no rain, with partial clouds and wind in the afternoon, and with it the Red Sox are hoping they can right the ship once again after one of the most disappointing series of the season.

The Sox returned Monday from a 10-game road trip in which they went 4-6 and promptly got swept by one of the worst teams in baseball, the last-place Chicago Cubs of the National League Central. Nothing seemed to go Boston's way, whether it was having to break up a no-hit bid by Jake Arrieta in Game 1, or stranding 10 runners in a 2-1 loss in Game 2, or just completely blowing up in Game 3, allowing 19 hits in a 16-9 loss to complete the sweep.

And suddenly, any momentum gained from last weekend's series at Yankee Stadium is gone, and the Sox are back at square one, falling nine games under .500 for the first time since May 25. That game, an 8-5 loss to Tampa Bay, was their season-worst 10th straight loss at the time, marred even further by a bench-clearing brawl after Yunel Escobar stole third uncontested with a six-run lead.

Following that loss, of course, the Sox reeled off a memorable seven-game win streak, so perhaps there is hope yet. Either way, some are right to wonder whether the last few days are the low point of the season.

Manager John Farrell is sticking to the weekend's lineup of starting pitchers after Friday's rainout. The Sox will send their top two pitchers to the mound Saturday, with Jon Lester (9-7, 2.92 ERA) taking the ball in Game 1 and John Lackey (9-5, 3.62) in the nightcap.

In the season series, the two teams are split at 5-5. Orioles cleanup hitter Nelson Cruz, who ranks second in MLB in RBIs (68) and is tied for first in homers (26), has historically had a good chunk off success against both of Saturday's pitchers -- particularly Lester, against whom Cruz has registered .458/.519/1.000 totals with three homers in 27 career at-bats.

The Sox come into the series not as desperate for offense as it appears -- they totaled 24 hits in their last two games -- but definitely in need of a jolt. David Ortiz has 4 RBIs in his last seven games, including a three-run jack against the Yankees, but otherwise he is 4-for-21 over that span. On the other hand, Dustin Pedroia has been heating up of late, going 12-for-24 in his last six games with five RBIs.

Pitchers challenging Pedroia ... and winning

July, 2, 2014
[+] EnlargePedroia Charts
ESPN Stats & InfoThese heat maps show Dustin Pedroia's drop in slugging percentage against fastballs over the past four seasons.
While power is not Dustin Pedroia's calling card, he’s lost nearly 100 points of slugging since 2011.

He’s dropped from .474 in 2011 to .449 in 2012, .415 in 2013 and what would be a career-low .383 this season.

Pitchers are becoming increasingly comfortable pounding the strike zone against Pedroia. In fact, no batter has seen a higher rate of pitches in the strike zone this season than Pedroia.

Pedroia isn’t taking advantage of these pitches in the strike zone. His slugging percentage against those pitches has also decreased each season since 2011, and fewer are turning into home runs.

He is also seeing more fastballs -- and doing less with them. Just as relevant is that more of these fastballs are being thrown in the strike zone, which suggests pitchers are challenging Pedroia to beat them.

Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 8, Yankees 5

June, 29, 2014

NEW YORK -- So, was there a difference in the Boston Red Sox's offense Sunday night? You bet(ts).

The result: The Sox marked the arrival of Mookie Betts’ major league debut by generating a dozen hits and eight walks, a first in one game this season, and rolling to an 8-5 win over the New York Yankees before a crowd of 48,124.

The Big Picture I: The Sox won the rubber game of this three-game set and finished their 10-game, three-city excursion with a 4-6 record. They are 18-25 on the road, 15-20 in the AL East and trail the first-place Toronto Blue Jays by six games.

The Big Picture II: The Jays are 12-15 in June and have lost nine of their past 13 games. Despite a losing record on the trip, the Sox picked up a half-game on Toronto.

Big Picture III: It's worth noting that on June 8, the San Francisco Giants were 9½ games ahead of the Dodgers. Three weeks later, the teams are in a virtual tie for first place.

Mookie mania: Betts did his part, grounding a single in the fourth for his first major league hit, then walking and scoring his first big league run in the sixth. He also was caught stealing and missed a diving attempt at a liner by Ichiro Suzuki that went for a triple.

No less than the prince of the Yankees, Derek Jeter, who at 40 is 19 years older than Betts, tossed the ball from the kid’s first hit into the visitors’ dugout for a memento, while his father and mother, Willie and Diana Betts, and his fiancée, Brianna Hammonds, watched from box seats in the second deck.

Hit-o-rama: But this was a night in which everyone in the Sox's lineup got into the act.

* Dustin Pedroia singled in each of his first three-at bats, giving him six straight hits, hit a sacrifice fly and drew a walk. He scored a run and drove in three, and also stayed in a rundown long enough after being picked off for another run to score.

* David Ortiz hit a three-run home run off Yankees starter Chase Whitley in the third, his 19th home run of the season and 450th of his career, in the third.

* Mike Napoli, who always hits in games John Lackey pitches (24-for-55 on his career), doubled and scored Boston’s first run.

* Stephen Drew singled Napoli home, his second RBI of the season, for the first Sox run.

* Brock Holt walked twice and singled, scoring two runs.

* Jackie Bradley walked and scored, singled, and also threw out Carlos Beltran at the plate when he attempted to score in the sixth with the Yankees down three runs.

* A.J. Pierzynski threw up his arms again in mock celebration when he blooped a hit in the fifth.

Lackey gets a pickup: Lackey was knocked around for five runs (four earned) in five innings, giving up home runs in the fourth to Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran, but was credited with the win. He is 7-0 in games in which the Sox score four or more runs.

Shutdown pen: Sox relievers pitched two-hit ball over the last four scoreless innings, striking out six. Andrew Miller K’d three in the seventh.

Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1

June, 28, 2014
NEW YORK -- Before rookie Mookie Betts makes his major league debut here Sunday night, the Red Sox might want to arrange for him to have a chat with Mike Napoli about the logistics of playing in Yankee Stadium.

If Betts is smart, he'll hang on every word.

The result: With two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning Saturday night, Napoli broke a 1-all tie with an opposite-field home run off Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka to give the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Bombers before a shocked-into-silence crowd of 48,433 in Yankee Stadium.

With one game left on this 10-game, three-city excursion, the Sox are 3-6 on this trip, 17-25 on the road, 14-20 in the AL East, and are now 3-6 against the Yankees. They trail the first-place Blue Jays by seven games in the East, and reach the season's midpoint at seven games under .500 (37-44).

The House That Nap Owns: The home run was the 10th of the season for Napoli, who joins Jonathan Schoop of the Orioles as the only players to take Tanaka deep twice this season. It was also his sixth home run at Yankee Stadium since he joined the Red Sox at the start of the 2013 season, the most by any visiting player in that time.

Lester shines: The home run made a winner of Jon Lester, who allowed just an unearned run on five hits, walking two and striking out six in eight innings. Two defensive plays, as they are wont to do in low-scoring games, figured prominently. Batterymate David Ross nailed Brett Gardner attempting to steal with a laser throw after he'd singled to open the sixth. The next two Yankees hit safely, but Lester struck out Carlos Beltran to end the inning.

The other play was highlight-reel stuff from Dustin Pedroia, who made a diving stop of Derek Jeter's smash with a runner aboard and no out in the eighth, then flipped the ball with his glove to Stephen Drew, who completed the double play.

Babe Ross: Boston scored three runs or fewer for the 12th time in the past 14 games, but both of its runs came on home runs. David Ross hit his fourth with one out in the third; the backup catcher has now homered in each of his past two starts.

Complete-game loser: In a rarity these days, Tanaka went the distance in the loss, allowing the Sox seven hits while walking one and striking out eight. Tanaka is now 11-3 and has lost back-to-back decisions for the first time this season.

Pedey percolates: Pedroia had three hits, leading off three different innings with line-drive base hits, one to right and two to center.

Rubby's gem wasted as Crisp, A's walk off

June, 21, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Red Sox manager John Farrell is doing his best to keep faith in his struggling team.

After watching the Red Sox waste right-hander Rubby De La Rosa's gem and suffer a 2-1 loss in 10 innings Saturday afternoon to the Oakland A's -- Boston's third straight loss to baseball's winningest team -- Farrell somehow found a positive spin.

"I look at it like this," Farrell said. "We are very close to becoming a team that will go on a run for an extended period. We got a number of really strong things in place, and that is pitching, both in terms of our rotation, our bullpen. I think we're playing very good defense. We've had situations get away from us in terms of men in scoring position."

The Red Sox left eight runners on base and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position Saturday, losing their American League-high 17th one-run game. As has happened so often this season, the Red Sox wasted a brilliant pitching performance.

De La Rosa allowed just one run on four hits while striking out seven and walking one. What's more, he pitched lights-out on the road for the first time in his young career. Going into the game, De La Rosa was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA at Fenway Park and 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA on the road.

[+] EnlargeRubby De La Rosa
Jason O. Watson/Getty ImagesRubby De La Rosa gave up one run on four hits and a walk, striking out seven in seven innings.
"It's important," De La Rosa said of pitching well on the road. "It makes me more confident in my stuff."

What was working for De La Rosa?

"He had everything going," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "The biggest thing with Rubby is he throws it over the plate, and today he threw four pitches for strikes and kept them off balance. We saw how Rubby can be.

"For him to go out and pitch the way he did, he kept us in the game and gave us a chance. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a hit."

Well, at least not one with runners in scoring position. For the second straight game, former Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp came through with the big hit for Oakland. He lined a walk-off single off Koji Uehara with one out in the 10th, driving in Alberto Callaspo with the winning run. Crisp singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning off Andrew Miller in the A's 4-3 win Friday night.

"We play a one-run game every night," Pierzynski said after the Sox fell to 11-17 in one-run games. "We're just kind of used to it now. We're hoping that eventually these will turn around and we'll find a way to win these instead of just coming up short."

Their luck appeared to change in the top of the eighth inning. With Dustin Pedroia on third and David Ortiz on first with one out, A's right-hander Luke Gregerson appeared to strike out Mike Napoli swinging on a 2-2 pitch. But home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott ruled that Napoli had foul tipped the ball and that it hit the ground. Replays showed that Vogt actually caught the ball cleanly, but the play was not reviewable under baseball's replay rules.

"Quinn heard sound and thought there was a foul ball," crew chief Gerry Davis told a pool reporter. "This type of play happens quite often actually. It's a difficult call for us. And in order to change it, we have to be positive."

Gregerson bounced his next pitch and the ball hit Vogt, and as the ball ricocheted toward the mound, Pedroia made a mad dash home and scored with a headfirst slide.

Pedroia said the fact that the Red Sox have been struggling to score influenced his decision to head home on the wild pitch.

"It's definitely a little gamble," Pedroia said. "It all depends on the situation. I think righties are hitting, like, .150 off [Gregerson]. Obviously, that was a tough at-bat, so you have to try to make something happen."

The Red Sox have scored just six runs in three games against Oakland after scoring five runs in a three-game sweep of Minnesota.

"You got to keep grinding," Pedroia said. "Obviously, we're trying too hard. Sometimes you got to keep saying, 'Let the game come to you.' You have at-bats in big situations, sometimes they make pitches on you, but sometimes they make pitches to hit and you're looking for their best location instead of just relaxing and putting a good at-bat together."

Farrell said he's heard no complaints from his starting pitchers over the lack of run support.

"That's part of the game," Farrell said. "We're going to go through stretches where starters are going to go out and give you a quality start and come away with nothing in terms of a win or a loss. That's completely out of their control. They continue to go about their work in between starts as consistent as any other time in the year. We have to continue to band together and find ways to collectively put together a complete game, and that's been a tough run here in this series coming off what I thought was a hard-fought series with Minnesota at home."

The Red Sox wasted good chances to score in the sixth inning and again in the 10th when Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded a one-out single off Dan Otero and moved to second on Brock Holt's third single of the game. But Otero retired Pedroia on a fly ball to Craig Gentry in right field, and David Ortiz struck out.

"We fought hard in this game," Farrell said. "We created some opportunities. Rubby pitched outstanding, and we've got to continue to grind away. The left-on-base is what it is, but we got to continue to believe in our guys and put forth the same approach and effort that we do."

Rapid Reaction: A's 2, Red Sox 1 (10th)

June, 21, 2014

OAKLAND, California -- Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa allowed just one run and four hits over seven innings, but the Red Sox wasted his gem and fell 2-1 to the Oakland Athletics in 10 innings on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum.

The Red Sox lost their third straight game to Oakland, baseball's winningest team at 47-28, and will try to avoid a sweep Sunday in the series finale.

The Red Sox scored a combined 13 runs in seven games before facing Oakland on Saturday. Now, make that 14 runs in eight games.

A's center fielder Coco Crisp hit a walk-off single against Red Sox closer Koji Uehara with one out in the 10th and scored Alberto Callaspo from second. Callaspo had walked against Edward Mujica and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Crisp lined Uehara's first pitch to right for his seventh walk-off hit of hsi career and second this season.

Controversial call: The Red Sox caught what appeared to be a huge break in the eighth inning when they pulled even at 1-1. With two outs, Dustin Pedroia on third and David Ortiz on first, first baseman Mike Napoli faced a 2-2 count against right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson. Napoli appeared to strike out, but home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott ruled that he foul-tipped the ball and that it hit the dirt before catcher Stephen Vogt caught it. Video replay showed that the ball went directly into Vogt's glove, but the play was not reviewable under baseball's replay rules. Gregerson bounced his next pitch off of Vogt, and as the ball rolled toward the mound, Pedroia raced home to score on the wild pitch -- and scored easily. After Napoli flied out to right, an irate Bob Melvin continued arguing with Wolcott, and the Oakland manager was tossed.

Wasted opportunity: In the top of the 10th, Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded a one-out single to center off A's reliever Dan Otero and moved to second on Brock Holt's sharp single. But Otero retired Pedroia on a fly ball to right field, then struck out Ortiz.

Road warrior: Entering the game, De La Rosa was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two starts at Fenway Park and 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA on the road. On Saturday, he proved that his good stuff travels. He handcuffed the A's with his mid- to high-90s heat and nasty changeup. De La Rosa struck out seven, walked one and threw 100 pitches but got a no-decision.

Costly first hit: De La Rosa didn't allow a hit until the third inning, but it was big and costly. Leading off, A's right fielder Stephen Vogt launched a triple that hit near the top of the high fence in right-center. Vogt, who hit a 2-1 changeup, scored on Callaspo's sacrifice fly and gave the A's a 1-0 lead. That snapped De La Rosa's streak of 10 2/3 scoreless innings

No answer for Chavez: A's right-hander Jesse Chavez became the latest opposing pitcher to have his way with the slumping Red Sox. Chavez had a no-hitter through five innings and blanked the Red Sox for seven innings on four hits. Chavez came into the game with a 6-4 record and 2.93 ERA, but he looked like a Cy Young Award lock against Boston.

Missed opportunity: Right fielder Holt broke up Chavez's no-hit bid in the sixth, when he sliced a leadoff single to left field. Pedroia lined a single to right, which moved Holt to second and brought Ortiz to the plate. Ortiz grounded into a 3-6-1 double-play, and Napoli struck out looking at an 0-2 fastball on the outside corner.

Crime watch: Holt is making a habit of robbing Callaspo with diving catches in right field. He stole a likely extra base hit Friday night by racing far to his left in the sixth inning. On Saturday, Holt went to his right and made a diving catch in the second inning of Callaspo's liner. But Callaspo didn't come away empty; he was credited with a sacrifice fly and RBI for driving in Vogt.

A.J., Sox come up a little short in Oakland

June, 20, 2014
A.J. PierzynskiAP Photo/Ben Margot
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Dustin Pedroia was on second base after a one-out double, and the Boston Red Sox, trailing Oakland 4-2, were down to their last out Thursday night when A.J. Pierzynski came to the plate.

A's reliever Dan Otero threw a first-pitch changeup, and Pierzynski ripped it on a line to center field. Pierzynski thought he hit it out, but former Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp made a catch at the wall.

"I hit that ball good," Pierzynski said. "The guy jumped up at the top of the wall and caught it. What can you do? Just frustrating, you know?"

The Red Sox used back-to-back home runs by David Ortiz and Mike Napoli in the bottom of the 10th inning Wednesday to beat the Twins 2-1 and sweep that three-game series.

Those timely blasts didn't signal an end to Boston's offensive slump. The Sox scored five runs in those three wins against Minnesota and have now scored a combined seven runs in their past four games. The Red Sox came into the game batting .244, tied for 11th in the American League.

[+] EnlargeDustin Pedroia
Jason O. Watson/Getty ImagesDustin Pedroia circles the bases after hitting a two-run homer off Scott Kazmir.
Pedroia had two of Boston's five hits against Oakland, a two-run homer off left-hander Scott Kazmir in the sixth and the double off Otero.

Kazmir struck out eight, walked none and gave up just two runs on four hits, improving to 9-2.

"We faced a tough pitcher," Pedroia said. "To be honest with you, I think our at-bats weren't that bad. We had some guys hit some balls at people. We got to find a way to have a big inning and get some momentum."

Red Sox manager John Farrell said he thought he was watching some more ninth-inning magic when the ball left Pierzynski's bat in the ninth.

"Off the bat I thought it was gone," Farrell said. "It could have been off the wall. Coco runs it down, and he's in that spot right where if it had a little more elevation it's a tie game."

Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy had a decent start, allowing four runs, just three of them earned, over 6 1/3 innings while striking out four and walking three. He gave up a solo home run to A's left fielder Yoenis Cespedes in the third inning. Then in the fourth, former Red Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie hit a one-out double and scored on Stephen Vogt's bloop single with two outs.

The way the Red Sox are hitting, Peavy needed to be much better to avoid losing his fifth straight decision. He fell to 1-5 and hasn't won a game since April 25 at Toronto.

"We know the situation we've been in as a team," Peavy said. "Going out there you can't put your team too far behind. I certainly try not to do that. Kazmir was good."

[+] EnlargeJake Peavy
AP Photo/Ben MargotJake Peavy gave the Sox a chance Thursday night but fell to 1-5.
Peavy said he "physically didn't feel very good" in the early innings but found a better rhythm later in the game.

"I thought Jake battled, kept multi-runs off the board in any given inning," Farrell said. "He pitched around some trouble at times. Once again, we're in the ballgame going into the seventh inning. We didn't have too many opportunities. Kazmir has got a year started, halfway through. You see what he's put up not just against us but throughout the season so far. Once again, we're scrambling to create some opportunities."

And once again, Peavy came away with a loss.

"I don't feel sorry for myself one bit," Peavy said. "I got to get better and got to find a way to win."

Peavy blamed himself for a defensive mistake in the second inning that led to an unearned A's run. He gave up a leadoff single to Josh Donaldson, who lined a ball off the left-field fence, a foot from going out, then walked Lowrie.

Catcher Derek Norris then hit a hard ground ball back to Peavy. But instead of throwing to second to start a likely double play, he threw to third for the force. Third baseman Xander Bogaerts caught Peavy's throw on the run then made an off-balance throw to first for an error. Both runners advanced, and Lowrie scored on a ground out.

"If I go to second base on the ground ball, we probably don't give up a run on that unearned run," Peavy said.

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 8, Red Sox 6

June, 7, 2014

DETROIT -- What was anticipated as a pitcher's duel between Jon Lester and last season's Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer, didn't turn out that way on Saturday night at Comerica Park.

Lester was never a mystery to Tigers batters and Scherzer pitched well enough to win with outstanding run support.

The Red Sox lost their fifth straight overall and their fifth consecutive game to Detroit this season.

Odd steal but comeback falls short: Xander Bogaerts stole third in a bizarre fashion with David Ortiz at bat with one out in the ninth. When third baseman Nick Castellanos ran to the right side of the infield for the shift and left third uncovered, Bogaerts took off from second and beat pitcher Joe Nathan to the bag. Boston had already scored in the inning on Dustin Pedroia's sacrifice fly and Ortiz then drove in Bogaerts with a ground out. That brought the Red Sox to within two. Grady Sizemore and Daniel Nava followed with singles but Stephen Drew ended the game with a flyout.

Lester didn't have it: Lester (6-7) retired the game's first two batters easily. But back-to-back doubles by Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter's RBI single put the Red Sox behind 2-0 in the first inning. Pedroia made a leaping catch of Nick Castellanos' line drive at second to end the inning. Lester went on to allow single runs in each of the second, third and fourth innings (he gave up solo homers in the third and fourth) and was replaced by Craig Breslow with runners on first and second and one out in the fifth. Breslow got a double-play grounder to end the inning. Lester gave up five runs on 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings with a walk and he didn't strike out a batter. He threw 90 pitches, 59 for strikes.

Scherzer good enough: Scherzer (7-2) wasn't great late but he was dominant in the first three innings and had his strikeout pitch working the whole time. After allowing one hit and striking out five in the first, second and third, he allowed single runs in each of the next four innings. He wound up allowing four runs and 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking a batter and striking out nine. He threw 115 pitches, 78 for strikes.

Consistent offense: The Tigers scored in six of the eight innings in which they batted. They failed to cross the plate in the fifth and the eighth.

Pedroia long ball: Pedroia put Boston on the scoreboard with a one-out home run in the fourth. It was his third of the season and made it 4-1.

Major league first: Detroit shortstop Eugenio Suarez got his first major league hit, leading off the fourth inning, and it went over the fence. His first career homer came on Lester's first pitch. That stretched the Tigers' lead to 5-1.

Rookie distinction: Castellanos was 3-for-4, including a solo home run. It was his third consecutive three-hit game. He is the first Detroit rookie to have three hits in three straight games since 1980, according to

Bradley Jr. comes through with RISP ... again: Red Sox Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.'s batting average may be hovering around the Mendoza line, but he's been pretty good with runners in scoring position this season. His two-out RBI single in the fifth, which pulled Boston to within 5-2, gave him a RISP average of .300 (15-for-50). Among Boston regulars who have played the entire season, that mark is second only to catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who is at .333 (16-for-48).

Drew contributes offensively: Drew got his first hit and first RBI in his return to the Red Sox with a two-out run-scoring single in the sixth.

Pedroia's return cut short by ejection

June, 1, 2014
BOSTON -- One day after sitting out due to a hand injury, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia had a brief return to the lineup, as he was ejected from Sunday’s game with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The announcement of Pedroia’s ejection was made in between the third and fourth innings. It is the third ejection of his career.

Pedroia was in the dugout after grounding out to short for the second out of the third. At the end of the inning, John Farrell came out of the dugout and argued with plate umpire D.J. Reyburn, with Pedroia briefly joining the discussion. The reason for the dispute was not clear.

Jonathan Herrera, who made a start for the second straight game, moved from third base to second, while Garin Cecchini -- called up from Triple-A Pawtucket before the game -- made his major league debut, playing third and batting third in place of Pedroia.

Cecchini joins Alex Hassan, his roommate at Pawtucket, in making his big league debut Sunday. Hassan started in right field. They are the first pair of Red Sox to make their major league debuts in the same game since Greg Blosser and Jeff McNeely on Sept. 5, 1993.

Pedroia hurts right hand, more tests set

May, 31, 2014
BOSTON -- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia came out of Friday night’s game after batting in the ninth inning with an injury to his right hand.

Sox manager John Farrell said that Pedroia hurt the hand while taking a throw from catcher A.J. Pierzynski on Wil Myers’s steal of second in the fourth inning.

“He landed on the right hand,” Farrell said. “A right hand contusion. The Fluoroscan was negative. Further imaging in the morning."

Pedroia had a hit and a walk in five plate appearances. With runners at first and third and two out in the ninth, he grounded out to third base, then was replaced by Jonathan Herrera in the top of the 10th.