Much has been made about the down season for Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. His numbers are down all across the board and he’s been a major part of the Red Sox offensive issues in 2013.
There was thought that he could be injured. There was thought that he was breaking down physically, just simply not the same player he was five years ago. A case that can easily be made, given the dirt dog, hard-nosed style the 30-year-old second baseman plays. Players of that style tend to age in dog years, as evidenced by players like Kevin Youkilis and Trot Nixon, among others.
Pedroia told the media last month that he planned ‘on getting hotter than Tent City’, Tent City referring to an Arizona prison facility. It took a couple of weeks for that statement to finally come to fruition, but he could finally be on the hot-streak he promised.
In his last 13 games going back to June 19, Pedroia is hitting .385 with a .912 OPS (20-for-52) with one home run and seven RBIs, striking out just eight times. He has at least one hit in 12 of those games and is currently riding a five-game hitting streak, in which he’s gone an aggregate 12 of 20 with a double and five RBIs, reaching base 14 times in 23 plate appearances, striking out just twice.
Pedroia has emulated the player who is a five-time All-Star, AL MVP and Rookie of the Year, a guy who can give a team good production out of any of the top four spots of the order. Meanwhile, he’s silenced those who were so fearful of Pedroia’s demise you’d think he was Tom Brady.
While it’s easy to say Pedroia is on the downhill based off his numbers through the first half of 2014, looking at his career numbers beyond the back of the baseball card shows that a good deal of those great numbers have come in the second half of the season.
In his MVP season of 2008, Pedroia was hitting .260 on June 13, only to hit .374 with a 1.005 OPS, 52 extra-base hits, 13 home runs and 54 RBIs over his final 90 games, carrying the Red Sox lineup through the pennant race after their best hitter decided to quit on the team.
When Pedroia broke his foot in San Francisco in June 2010 — virtually ending his season — he had been white-hot up to that point. In 13 games leading up to that June 25 game in San Fran, he had been hitting .500 (26-for-52) with ten extra-base hits, four home runs, 13 RBIs and 17 runs scored. Pedroia had hit three home runs the night before in Colorado.
Pedroia was hitting just .239 on June 5, 2011, coming back from the foot injury that required surgery. From that day-on, he hit .344 with a .963 OPS, 50 extra-base hits, 17 home runs and 72 RBIs over 104 games. A performance that nearly earned him a second AL MVP award.
In 2012, Pedroia was hitting .262 as late as August 6. Despite the Red Sox going into the tank over the final 50 games of that disastrous Bobby Valentine season, going 14-36, Pedroia hit the ball as good as anyone in the majors, hitting .342 with a .952 OPS, 27 extra-base hits, six home runs, 26 RBIs and 30 runs scored.
Like 2012, Boston’s 2014 playoff hopes look to be going the way of the dinosaur, though in a less cataclysmic fashion.
But don’t expect Pedroia to go off quietly into the night.