CLEVELAND — For about a month now, we’ve been hearing that Dustin Pedroia is going to get hot. And for about a month, we’ve watched him continue to struggle.
He arrived in Cleveland on Monday having driven in two runs this month. His last home run was on April 15. His batting average was 56 points off his career average, his slugging percentage a ridiculous 130 points below his norm.
Was it a slump or something more sinister? Pedroia broke his left foot 11 months ago and had a screw inserted to secure the bone in August. For whatever the reason, he hasn’t looked like the same player at the plate since.
That changed in the first inning today. Pedroia got up twice against Mitch Talbot. His first at-bat produced a two-run homer, his second an RBI single. It sparked the Red Sox to a 14-2 victory.
Pedroia was given Tuesday off after jamming his left foot on Monday. He talked honestly today about what he has been going through.
“This year’s kind of been tough. I’m managing a lot more than I have,” Pedroia said. “It has taken some time to get used to. Some days it feels good and other days it doesn’t. I don’t think it has affected me that much.”
Seconds later, Pedroia pointed out that his “violent” swing includes landing on his front foot and that is not as smooth a motion as it once was.
“I’ll be fine. I have 400 more at-bats to rake,” he said. “You have to start somewhere. It’s a long year, man. We’ve played 49 games. The last three weeks that I’ve had a tough time, you go through that. But there will be three weeks when I can’t get out. The times when it’s tough, you have to find ways to get hits and do other things to help us win.”
Perhaps today’s laugher will be remembered as the day Pedroia got going. We’ll find out soon enough. If nothing else, we do know he remains capable of big swings and big hits.
• The Sox had 20 hits, their season high. Nine of the hits came in the first inning. The last time they had that many hits in an inning was on May 7, 2009 against the Indians. They were the most hits in the first inning since June 27, 2003 against the Marlins, a 25-3 game at Fenway Park.
• Red Sox starters have 12 scoreless outings, the most in the majors.
• The Sox are now 11-12 on the road after starting 0-7.
• Bad weather is predicted in Detroit tomorrow. We’ll keep you posted on what’s going on.