Next Stop, a Milk Carton?

Terry Francona doesn’t deserve much in the way of criticism right now.  The Sox have the best record in baseball.  They lead their division by ten in the loss column.  They are pitching and hitting.   Their manager has pulled the strings expertly so far.  But we do have one question: what in the heck is the current plan for Dustin Pedroia? 

Pedroia started the season sluggishly, he looked quite overmatched in our opinion, his heel-swinging compounding his travails with a perception on our part that his intentions were more Kingmanesque than his body allowed.  However, come May, Pedroia went on a tear.  Beginning with the game of May 3rd against Seattle, Pedroia went on a 10-17 run over 5 games in 7 days.  It was impressive.  And then Terry basically turned him into a platoon player.  He didn’t get an at-bat against Toronto on May 10th, went hitless on the 11th and 12th, and has basically swapped duties with Alex Cora in the last eight days, playing only two of the contests against Detroit.  We want to know what the rationale is behind this move, sitting a player just as he gets hot.  It’s one thing to guard against fatigue in a young player, to arbitrate slumps so that confidence isn’t shattered.  But Pedroia seems to brim with faith in his own abilities, even when down — that we’ve noticed in his body language.  There’s nothing hangdog about him.  And he wasn’t close to slumping; quite the opposite, he was perhaps the hottest Sox.  So why the sudden move to basically alternate Cora and Pedroia?  It’s our only question for you, Tito.

5 comments… add one
  • The answer to your question seems pretty obvious: Alex Cora was on an even hotter tear (now cooling off a bit).
    Since Cora can play both short and 2nd base, the Sox might try this until the All-Star break: Play Lugo, Cora and Pedroia two out of every three games each (with only minor adjustment for matchups).
    GAME A: Lugo SS, Pedroia 2B
    GAME B: Cora SS, Pedroia 2B
    GAME C: Lugo SS, Cora 2B
    That would give all three regular playing time, with the added confidence of knowing when they are going to be called upon, and give the Sox the chance to figure out who to stick with for the remainder of the season.

    Hudson May 20, 2007, 11:58 am
  • SF, I have been wondering the same thing.
    And I don’t believe Hudson’s rationale is an appropriate line of thinking. (Nothing personal, Hud.)
    DP is our second baseman, albeit he’s still developing. For him to develop into that player, he must play. Period.
    Cora is a role player. He’s here to help DP develop. Cora will not continue to be a .400 hitter.
    I’m sure Tito has a response to this. It might even satisfy us.

    I'm Bill McNeal May 20, 2007, 12:45 pm
  • I know Cora was hot, but Cora is what he is. His hot streak was an anomaly for him, just a hot streak. With Pedroia, there seems to be more upside. Cutting off his playing time seemed like the wrong move to me. If he’s a player for the future, then give him the chance to be a regular, go-to guy. Cora’s hotness, I guarantee, will go away, whether he plays or not. No disrespect to him, but he’s just not the player of that hotstreak, it was an outlier stretch. With Pedroia, we need to see whether his hotstreak was an anomaly or an indication of the developing talent that has been touted so highly.

    SF May 20, 2007, 12:46 pm
  • Alex Cora was on an even hotter tear (now cooling off a bit).
    Which is exactly what everyone here has been saying when anything more then a role player he is what he is. The hot start begins to deminish as he played more.
    Pedroia and Lugo should be getting a majority of the playing time.

    TJ May 20, 2007, 12:58 pm
  • Perhaps sitting down Pedroia a few times while he’s going good was an attempt to get him thinking about getting beyond being a hot/cold, streaky player and help turn him into Mr. Consistency–consistency definitely a trait a diminutive, brimming with confidence second baseman could use. Aim: Less peaks and valleys and more of a sustained high plateau. He sat down a few times while he was going good and then he’s back the next day and he kept on producing. That’s big. For a rookie, I imagine that fact alone helps go a long way in making him understand he can play at this level for many years. It also makes sitting him down when he’s not going good much less of a psychological deal for the player. If Pedroia’s in their everyday in August and his “confidence” has turned into “consistency (of course streaks can never be totally eliminated just smoothed out) that will last him a long pro-career then he’s been handled brilliantly. In a word: rookie. Handle with care.

    kyotofan May 20, 2007, 2:41 pm

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