Pedroia turning it on in pursuit of another title
Red Sox second baseman making his usual impact with bat, glove in ALCS
DETROIT -- The Red Sox hardly did anything on offense in Game 1 and most of Game 2 in this American League Championship Series against the Tigers. The Fenway Park crowd got quiet. The series looked like it might just get away from Boston.
But the dugout wasn't quiet. It's never quiet as long as Dustin Pedroia is there.
Boston's second baseman is at it again this October, in case you haven't noticed. He's doing what he always does -- impacting games, contributing in any way he can, and attempting to help will his team toward another World Series championship. It would be the second of Pedroia's career, and he wants it just as badly as the first one in 2007.
"We understand ... you back us into a wall, you can only do two things -- cave or fight," Pedroia said after he helped the Red Sox overcome a four-run deficit in the eighth inning of Game 2 to prevail, 6-5. "We're going to fight."
The series shifts to Comerica Park on Tuesday for Game 3 at 4 p.m. ET on FOX.
Pedroia's been fighting all season long and all postseason long, and things might be turning in his direction after a tough Division Series against Tampa Bay that saw him go 4-for-19 (.211).
In Game 1 of the ALCS, the Red Sox lost, 1-0, on a combined one-hitter by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez and a quartet of relievers. But Pedroia was on base twice, drawing two walks.
In Game 2, Tigers starter Max Scherzer had a no-hitter going into the sixth, but Pedroia had already made something happen in the third inning when he ranged to his left, dove to field a bullet of a ground ball off the bat of Austin Jackson, and threw out the speedy runner at first base.
"That was sick, wasn't it?" Red Sox pitcher John Lackey said. "I didn't think there was any way he was getting to that ball. But that's him. He's all-out all the time. I just think there's more light on it in the postseason. But he'll lay out in April. It doesn't matter."
Pedroia was far from done in Game 2.
In the sixth inning, with his team trailing, 5-0, Pedroia gave the Red Sox their first run of the ALCS by doubling off the Green Monster to score Shane Victorino, and in the eighth inning, after Will Middlebrooks had doubled and Jacoby Ellsbury had worked a walk, Pedroia singled into right field off Tigers right-handed specialist Al Alburquerque to load the bases for David Ortiz, who, of course, cleared them on the first pitch he saw from closer Joaquin Benoit.
One inning later, the Red Sox had completed their comeback and tied the series, and now Pedroia is right where he wants to be: in October with a good chance to go all the way.
This is nothing new. Pedroia was raised in the Red Sox organization, won the AL Rookie of the Year Award and the World Series in '07, won the AL Most Valuable Player Award in '08, and has made four All-Star teams and won two Gold Glove Awards.
His teammates continue to marvel at his non-stop engine, his tireless desire to win baseball games by any means necessary.
"It's pretty crazy how he has no switch," starter Jon Lester said. "It's the same gig over and over and over for the whole season. It doesn't matter if it's Day 1 of spring or Game 7 of the World Series. You're going to get the same guy. I think that's what makes him so special. That's what kind of sets him apart in this clubhouse as the guy we look to. That never changes, never wavers.
"He's always got his finger on the game somehow. He's always finding a way to help the team, whether it's on defense or offense. He's always contributing to help us win."
Pedroia has now driven in at least one run in eight straight postseason series, or, as it turns out, every postseason series in which he has appeared in his career.
Heading into Game 3 in Detroit, Pedroia didn't want to dwell on his past accomplishments or his qualities as a player.
He wanted to talk about one thing, naturally: How to win Game 3.
"He's tough," Pedroia said when asked about Game 3 starter Justin Verlander. "He's tough on everybody, so we'll try to find a way to have quality at-bats and get some runs on the board.
"Just try to grind out at-bats. If you get a good pitch to hit, you better hit it."