NEW YORK — Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell has said several times he likes having Dustin Pedroia bat in the No. 2 hole. Pedroia and the Red Sox’s offense aren’t exactly firing on all cylinders, though.
Pedroia hasn’t drawn a single walk in the Red Sox’s first 11 games, and his 0-for-4 effort against the Yankees on Friday marked the first time this season the four-time All-Star has been held hitless in consecutive games. Farrell felt a change was necessary and thus moved Pedroia up into the leadoff spot for Saturday’s game at Yankee Stadium.
“It’s more about the overall performance in the leadoff spot. It’s also a chance for Dustin to focus on just getting on base,” Farrell said before Saturday’s game. “I think there’s been times where Pedey has expanded the strike zone a little bit and forced the issue some. (This is) another opportunity to get him to see some pitches. This is now the fourth different guy we’ve had in the leadoff spot, so we’re looking for a combination (and) a little bit of a spark at the top.”
Daniel Nava (five games), Jonny Gomes (four games) and Grady Sizemore (two games) have been Boston’s other leadoff hitters this season. The top spot has produced just a .186 batting average and a .593 OPS, though, so Farrell still is trying to figure out the best combination atop the order with Jacoby Ellsbury now with the Yankees and Shane Victorino sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Pedroia enters Saturday’s game hitless in his last 10 at-bats, and his on-base percentage sits at just .240. More importantly, the second baseman has done some uncharacteristic things offensively.
“There’s an aggressiveness that maybe we typically don’t see from (Pedroia),” Farrell said, “so again the focus would be just, ‘Don’t worry about driving the baseball. Just go up and take your normal at-bat.’”
Pedroia has made 87 starts out of the leadoff spot in his nine-year career. Saturday marks No. 88.