In the opening game of the four-game series between the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox on Monday night at Fenway Park, the Angels were clinging to a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, and the Sox had runners on second and third with two outs and fiesty second baseman Dustin Pedroia was at the plate.
Jered Weaver, looking for his seventh victory of the season, worked diligently to Pedroia, and threw everything but the kitchen sink to the 2008 AL MVP. Pedoria continued fouling off pitch after pitch.
It was a classic duel between two of baseball’s fiercest competitors. Weaver, who is known to cuss when he gives up a single, and Pedroia, who thinks he should get a hit every time up. And neither was about to give in.
Pedroia did what the Red Sox have been famous for now for several seasons. He worked the pitch count. After 12 pitches, Pedroia finally won the battle, taking the 13th pitch from Weaver and knocking it into center field, scoring both Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury, giving the Sox a 3-2 lead that they would not relinquish again.
“Just two guys with unbelievably strong wills, and neither one of them is going to give in in that situation,” Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie said to John Tamase of the Boston Herald. “He made a tough pitch, and Pedey was just able to hit it back up the middle and hit it hard. He won that matchup.”
That one at-bat signified what the Red Sox love to do: work the pitch count and get to the bullpen. And that strategy worked perfectly on this night. Weaver put up a quality start, going six innings and allowing only three runs, however with Pedroia’s at-bat and the patience of other Sox hitters, Weaver’s pitch count was at 118, and he was done for the night.
The Sox then lit up Hisanori Takahashi and Francisco Rodriguez in a six-run seventh inning. Ballgame over.
Monday night’s game was a classic example of one of the components of the Sox offense, and this time, Weaver was the victim.