Dustin Pedroia is 0 for 11 since he returned from a thumb injury that cost him six games. But he feels great at the plate.
"I went home last night and I was excited because I felt like myself because I hit the ball on the barrel twice," he said, pointing to the fly ball to deep center in the sixth inning and the line drive to left field in the eighth. "I'm not worried about how the heck I'm going to swing."
Pedroia junked the bulky brace he was using on his thumb for a smaller contraption. "The first games was hard, I couldn't hit with it. But we figured something out," he said.
Pedroia is using a shock-absorbing gel pad on the base of his thumb, a padded batting glove and a device called a Direct Protect that will further brace his thumb.
Pedroia is excited about Stephen Strasburg tonight.
"Watched the tape, he has great stuff," he said. "We have to find a way to win. You don't want to face a guy like that every day but it's fun. We faced Verlander and his stuff is similar."
Pedroia also is interested in seeing Bryce Harper in person.
"I like him. He plays hard, dude. Since he's gotten to the big leagues, I've seen his interviews and I appreciate what he says. Like a guy who plays hard," Pedroia said. "He does the little things. He's good for the sport."