BOSTON In Fridays loss to the Braves, Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-4, grounding out to end the eighth representing the tying run. In 15 games since rejoining the lineup on June 5 after missing six games with a slight tear in the adductor muscle of his right thumb, Pedroia had gone 9-for-62 (.145), dropping his average from .295 to .260 in that time.
After Fridays game, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine offered a prediction.
Hell get hot, Valentine said. Hotter than a firecracker.
But Valentine didnt say how quickly that would happen.
Pedroia went 3-for-4, with a double, a run scored, two RBI, and a walk in Saturdays 8-4 win over the Braves, raising his average to .267.
Friday night he said he felt really good and I thought some of his at-bats were a little different than they had been , Valentine said. And tonight his groundballs had the power to get through the infield and the double in left-center field, a walk. He had good at-bats tonight. Hes feeling good.
But, Valentine said, Pedroia has not yet reached firecracker status.
No, but he might be soon, the manager said.
Pedroia has been unfazed by his recent struggles.
Hits are coming, he said. Every year I go through a time tough time, like everybody else does, but when it rains it pours. You can go from cold to real hot.
I felt good the last few days and Ive swung the bat good but I just didnt get any hits. Thats the tough part to deal with mentally when you have good at-bats, quality at-bats and you dont get any hits. Youve just got to know that theyre coming and they will.
Pedroia said he hasnt let his recent lack of productivity bother him.
Im always in a good frame of mind, he said. I just try to know in the end Ill be right there where I normally am. You guys saw it the year before, the year before that, and the year before that. Everyone goes through tough times and its how you bounce out of it and once you find your swing you just take off.
Pedroia was clean shaven for the game for the first time in a while. It has nothing to do with baseball superstition, though, he said.
Im trying to spice up my love life with my wife, so I shaved my beard.