Notes: Pedroia enjoying amazing August
Crisp misses Sunday's finale; Ramirez passes Foxx on RBI list
BALTIMORE -- When discussing the performance of second baseman Dustin Pedroia before his team's afternoon affair at Camden Yards on Sunday, manager Terry Francona and members of the media threw around some pretty serious terms.Such as "Gold Glove" and "Rookie of the Year." Whether or not the 23-year-old standout wins any official awards for his work this season, he has become more than a reliable force for the Sox. His abilities have shone through in his play in August maybe more than they have in his young career. Pedroia is batting .474 in 10 August games, with seven multi-hit outings in nine starts this month. He already has nine RBIs over that span and is on pace to shatter his previous single-month record of 12, which he set in June. Though Pedroia's .330 batting average ranks seventh-best in the American League, it's not just his offensive abilities that are impressing his manager. Pedroia was the National Defensive Player of the Year in 2003, when he played for Arizona State University, and he's been able to carry his range, quickness and agility in the middle of the infield to the Majors. Pedroia has committed only three errors this season, tied for the fewest among Boston infielders who have played more than 35 games.
Francona praised Pedroia's play, but said that the Gold Glove Award isn't always completely based on performance."Gold Glove is a really cool award, but so often, reputation plays a big part of it," Francona said. "I bet you it'll be hard for a rookie that isn't always flashy, but there should be more to it than that." Flashy or not, Pedroia is turning heads. And five days before his 24th birthday, he's drawing conversation concerning his Rookie of the Year status, as well. Francona said that Boston has three candidates -- Pedroia, starter Daisuke Matsuzaka and reliever Hideki Okajima -- in the running for the prestigious award. "It always ends up being unfair to players," he said. "Because of pro experience in Japan, who knows? There are such good candidates out there. That's one that's going to be interesting." No-go for Coco: Center fielder Coco Crisp has missed just 10 of Boston's 116 games this season, but he sat out of Sunday's game after experiencing flu-like symptoms on Saturday night and Sunday morning. "I don't really know how to explain it," Francona said of Crisp's ailment. "His legs were worn down and he didn't feel great. It can't help but get passed around." In 48 games since June 14, Crisp is batting .337, the 12th-highest average in the AL over that span. He also has 27 RBIs in that stretch, putting his season total at 43, seven more than his 2006 mark. Home, sweet home: Boston's game in Baltimore on Sunday marks the end of a stretch in which it played 16 road games and only three at Fenway Park. "It seems like we've been on the road a lot," Francona said. "West Coast, then a day off, then East Coast -- it seems like a long time." The 19 road games the Red Sox play in August are more than any other month this season. But the Sox can't complain about playing away from Fenway. Their 34 road wins are one off the Major League lead, behind Detroit's 35. He's the Manny: With his RBI double on Sunday, left fielder Manny Ramirez moved past former first baseman Jimmie Foxx on Boston's all-time RBI list. Ramirez now stands alone in sixth place, with 789 career RBIs. He has a long way to go to reach the top of the historic chart, as 1967 AL MVP Carl Yastrzemski holds a commanding lead with 1,844.
Quotable: "Those three days weren't too good." -- Francona, on Boston's three-game series at Fenway Park against Baltimore, the team's only three home games in its last 19 contests
Up next: Boston will begin a seven-game homestand against Tampa Bay and Los Angeles on Monday with the first of three contests against the Devil Days. Tim Wakefield (13-10, 4.81 ERA) will face fellow righty James Shields (9-7, 4.32 ERA), with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Geremy Bass is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.