Dustin Pedroia delivered the marathon-deciding hit in Sunday night’s exhausting 1-0 victory over the Rays and then came back yesterday with another game-winning hit against the Orioles, continuing an incredible run for the Red Sox second baseman.
Pedroia’s season totals are arguably the best of his career, but his outstanding overall numbers include a modest .239 batting average and .639 OPS through 56 games. Something clicked for Pedroia around early June and since then he’s hit .383 with a 1.177 OPS in 35 games.
During that 35-game stretch he’s produced 54 hits and 28 walks for a .452 on-base percentage, smacked nine homers and 15 doubles in 141 at-bats, and scored or driven in 64 runs. Oh, and the Red Sox have gone 25-10 to take over the AL East lead.
That’s a helluva Laser Show and Pedroia is now a legitimate candidate for his second MVP award, which is pretty remarkable considering the worries surrounding his performance and health through two months.
Austin Romine is starting at catcher and batting ninth for the Yankees in today’s ALCS Game 4 versus the Astros.
Gary Sanchez is still in the lineup, but he’s the DH. That means Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley and Matt Holliday are all on the bench.
Sanchez was lambasted for not holding on to the relay throw in Game 2, allowing Jose Altuve to score the winning run despite getting beat to the plate by the ball by several feet. That, combined with earlier passed balls, led some in the press to lobby for Romine to get the call behind the plate. Those calls tended to ignore the fact that Romine can’t hit a lick and that he is inferior to Sanchez when it comes to gunning down runners. Maybe a ball doesn’t skip by Romine that would have eluded Sanchez, but if I’m Jose Altuve or Alex Bregman or one of the speedier Astros, I’m running wild on Romine any time I get on base today.
The offensive knock is not quite as big a deal at the moment as it normally would be. Sanchez is in an 0-for-16 slump, but Romine isn’t replacing his bat he’s replacing either Ellsbury, Headley or Holliday. None of those guys are hitting at all, so I don’t suppose this is that big of a deal. Discuss amongst yourselves if you’d rather have a guy who is as cold as ice in the lineup who might hit versus a guy you can be pretty sure isn’t gonna hit regardless.
Either way, it’s a different look for the Yankees in Game 4.