Don’t tell Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia that he’s getting old. He’s liable to lash out another grand slam on his opponents.
With much of the talk being about the future of the second base position for the Red Sox in the last few years, Pedroia’s injury-plagued 2015 didn’t help much. The four-time All-Star and 2008 American League MVP only played in 93 games. He made the most of his opportunities, hitting .291 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs, but questions started to surface as to his durability. Signing a contract through 2021 for $85 million only had added to the debate, along with the team also signing young Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada to play second base in the minors for a great deal of money as well.
While Moncada continues to impress in the farm system, some of the media have been wondering if Pedroia still had some of the same fire left in him. If Pedroia was going to put the doubters’ thoughts and voices to rest, he was supposed to have a good start to the 2016 season. Like much of anything in life, words and intentions only go so far, while actions speak much louder.
You couldn’t get much louder than Pedroia did last night.
The old dog of the Red Sox infield, all five-foot-nine of him, absolutely drilled a grand slam off of Bud Norris of the Atlanta Braves in the bottom of the second inning at Fenway Park. It bounced off of the right field foul pole and ignited the fans into a roar that could be heard across the country. He homered again in the bottom of the eighth inning, a solo-shot, putting a cap on his night at going 3-for-5 with five RBIs.
He may be 32, but nothing seems to be slowing Pedroia down. In 20 games, he’s hitting a slash line of .333/.381/.522 with three homers and 12 RBIs, starting at the two-spot in the batting order between Mookie Betts and David Ortiz. Defensively, his .987 fielding percentage is just scratching the surface to what he’s been doing on the field. Pedroia has made some incredible plays already, showing that his glove is as hot as ever.
As good as Moncada may be, Pedroia is still playing at an elite level and should not be considered anything other than one of the irreplaceable leaders of this team. His numbers alone give that statement weight. Pedroia is third in the majors for all second basemen in batting average, trailing only Daniel Murphy (.391) and Ian Kinsler (.337). He is also sixth in terms of RBIs, but the field is pretty close above him except for Robinson Cano running away with it by cashing in 24 runs.
Right now, Pedroia leads the Red Sox in batting average and hits, trailing only Betts by one in runs scored. He’s proven to be a leader on and off of the field, looking every bit the little bulldog that he’s been for the last ten years in Boston. If you’re part of Red Sox Nation, you want the media to poke at him a bit more if he’s going to produce like he has. Apparently, Pedroia likes it or at least he likes sinking his teeth into some pitches afterwards.