08/29/08 11:55 PM ET
Pedroia, Dice-K sock Chicago
Second baseman notches four hits to back righty's gem
By Mark Remme / MLB.com
Pedroia does it all: He scores runs, he steals bases and he plays exceptional defense at second base. But above all, the man can hit.
Need Proof? It's in Friday's box score. Pedroia notched a 4-for-4 evening at the plate -- including one walk -- as the Red Sox welcomed themselves home with an 8-0 thrashing of the White Sox at Fenway Park.
"What can you say about what he does with the bat? It's almost become expected," Bay said. "Just another day for Dustin Pedroia. I don't think it impresses anybody anymore, and I've only been here for a month."
Talk about a day when one 5-foot-9 second baseman did everything but pitch a shutout. The second-year man laced three singles, a double, crossed the plate three times and stole two bases.
It's becoming quite epidemic around the Major Leagues. Pedroia might be the smallest member of Boston's team, but he sure makes a lot of noise when he hits the field.
"I worry more about Pedroia than I worry about Big Papi," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Right now, I have to, because he's swinging the bat good. ... It's amazing how this kid shows up to the ballpark every day and plays the way he plays. He brings a lot of energy to the field."
Of course, Pedroia wasn't alone. It was a slew of Boston hits that put an eight-spot on the board for a cruising Daisuke Matsuzaka -- who, for those keeping track, notched his 16th win of the year.
It was apparent early that Dice-K and the Red Sox's lineup were on their "A" games. Matsuzaka began the first with a 1-2-3 inning, one of six frames in which he'd face the minimum three batters.
He located, pitched ahead in the count and avoided racking up a lofty pitch-count early. His 103 pitches through eight innings proved to be one of his finest, most complete outings of the season.
|"The only thing I care about is helping us win games. I'll go 0-for-4 and have us win any day of the week."|
|-- Dustin Pedroia|
The Boston lineup, on the other hand, couldn't be stifled by Javier Vazquez. The Sox tagged him for five runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings.
"We came out with a lot of energy," Pedroia said. "Javy Vazquez was throwing the ball well. It was nice to score a couple runs and get some momentum, then Dice-K took over. He threw the ball great."
Six runs came in the fifth and six innings alone, the first two tallies coming from RBI doubles by David Ortiz and Mark Kotsay in the fifth -- it was Kotsay's first RBI since the Sox acquired him from Atlanta on Wednesday. Bay tacked on a three-run double with two outs in the sixth to break the game open.
Pedroia -- who else? -- scored in each of those frames, recording his 104th run to pass Bobby Doerr's club record set in 1950 for the most runs scored by a second baseman in a season.
"It's awesome. I really don't think about stuff like that," Pedroia said. "I just try to come out and play hard all day. Like I said, it's David and Youk [Kevin Youkilis] driving me in when I get on base."
Doerr introduced himself to Pedroia last summer, telling him he'd be watching every game and that he liked the way Pedroia played. The encounter made Pedroia feel confident that breaking the 58-year record before the end of August wouldn't create any hard feelings.
"He didn't seem like a guy who would be mad about it or anything," Pedroia joked.
What it did was solidify Pedroia as a formidable part of Boston's batting order. And given how this lineup has changed almost monthly with trades and injuries over the course of the season, Pedroia's consistency is anything but overlooked.
"We love the way he plays," manager Terry Francona said. "That would be very disrespectful to say it's a surprise. He just does it all the time."
But make no mistake, the accolades mean little to Pedroia.
There's just one statistic that matters to him, and that's in the left column of the standings.
"The only thing I care about is helping us win games," Pedroia said. "I'll go 0-for-4 and have us win any day of the week."
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.