Guess who is getting pitched around

Rob Bradford
October 03, 2008 - 5:32 am
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Something you might have noticed during Wednesday night's Red Sox win, and if you didn't you should pay attention to tonight -- Dustin Pedroia is getting pitched around ... big time. And don't think he isn't taking note. "I started noticing it in September," he said. "Certain teams pick which guys they want to beat you and which guys they don't want to beat you. If you get a pitch to hit, you have to swing at it, and if you don't, you can't swing at it. The case (Wednesday) night I didn't get a pitch to hit and I chased out of the zone a couple of times and walked a couple of times. They weren't giving in, but hopefully the next game is different. "I could have walked three times. I forced the one I hit to right. I was trying to create something. You get impatient not getting pitches to hit, especially me because I never really ahve got that in my life." Pedroia did draw two walks, a feat he has now only managed four times all season, still not having been issued three free passes on one game this season. The second baseman, among others, noted how differently Angels' starter John Lackey was approaching him compared to the duo's previous meetings, living off the black on the outside edge. After Pedroia's first at-bat -- a two-pitch showdown in which he grounded out to first -- the Sox' No. 2 hitter saw four balls out of five pitches in his next at-bat (a walk), was forced to chase a curveball off the plate in plate appearance No. 3, and walked on five pitches in the fourth try against Lackey. In Pedroia's final at-bat, reliever Scot Shields took a different approach than Lackey against Pedroia, pounding him inside during a six-pitch at-bat that resulted in ground out back to the pitcher. "They've gotten more careful with him, there's no question about it," said Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan. "There were a lot more conferences with the pitching coach with guys on base (throughout Sept.)." Perhaps the most telling instance in Game 1 was in the seventh inning when Pedroia came up with two outs and Jacoby Ellsbury at third base. Lackey didn't go near the Sox second baseman, walking Pedroia before the Angels called on Darren Oliver to face David Ortiz. "They were not going to let Pedie hurt them in that situation," Magadan observed. Pedroia ultimately drew more walks in August and Sept. than any other of the previous months, still ending up with more strikeouts than walks for the first time in his professional career (50-52). And, according to Magadan, he also earned the title of the one hitter in the Red Sox lineup who has seen the most dramatic change in regards to how opponents have come after him. "I would say so," said Magadan regarding the identification of Pedroia as the most adjusted to Red Sox hitter this season. "We've got some guys who can do some damage, but I think if there's a situation if a base hit is going to score a run and it's going to be a major part of the game I thinki they're going to be a little more careful with him. "Now he's done it for two years. Now he's not a guy who has snuck up on people. He's a force to be reckoned with."