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10/06/08 3:12 AM ET
October's been unkind to Pedroia
Through first three ALDS games, second baseman in a funk
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
BOSTON -- This is how quickly the game can humble a player. During the regular season, Red Sox second baseman and No. 2 hitter Dustin Pedroia emerged as an American League MVP Award candidate. Yet the calendar has flipped to October, and suddenly, Pedroia is 0-for-the-ALDS.
He's the first to admit this is a problem. In fact, Pedroia, who went 0-for-5 with a hit-by-pitch on Sunday night to fall to 0-for-13 in the AL Division Series, blamed himself for the 5-4 loss in 12 innings to the Angels in Game 3.
Dustin Pedroia's playoff struggles
|No. 1||0-for-3, 3 BBs, 3 LOB|
|No. 2|| 0-for-5, 1 K, |
|No. 3|| 0-for-5, 1 K, |
"It's my fault, man," Pedroia said. "I've got to get on base. That's it. I've got to help the team win, and I didn't. I blame this one on me." Pedroia, who has left 13 runners on base in the series, had his greatest opportunity to make his mark in Game 3 in the bottom of the 11th. He was up to bat with two outs, with the speedy Coco Crisp at second. A base hit would have won the game. Instead, Angels righty Jered Weaver got Pedroia to ground out to third. "My last at-bat, I hit a bullet to third," Pedroia said. "I hit it right to [Chone] Figgins, and he made a good play." One play Pedroia was involved with in the first inning helped the Angels score their first run. Torii Hunter hit a grounder that Pedroia had to range far to his left to retrieve. Starter Josh Beckett rushed to cover first, but Pedroia, figuring Hunter was going to beat the throw, opted not to throw the Red Sox ace the ball. Hunter's single loaded the bases, setting up Juan Rivera's ensuing bases-loaded walk. When a reporter inferred that the play should have been made, manager Terry Francona brushed off the question. "Pedroia just held onto it because he got a guy on the move," Francona said. "I think Hunter was going to beat it. I didn't see it the way you did." But everyone can see Pedroia is struggling at the plate, and it's not as if there were any precursors to this slump. Pedroia had hits in each of his last six games of the regular season, going 10-for-27 (.370) with four doubles and four RBIs in that home stretch to finish off the year with a .326 average, 54 doubles, 17 homers and 83 RBIs. "I'm frustrated," Pedroia said. "I hit some balls hard but just didn't get anything going. It's a tough time to go 0-for-13. I'll battle. Everyone knows that. It's not lack of effort. I've got to find a way to get on base for these guys. Everybody else is swinging the bat well, so I've got to do that."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.