But after a forgettable May performance, Pedroia reminded everyone MVPs can also carry ball clubs. And that’s exactly what Pedroia, the 2008 American League Most Valuable Player, has done for the Red Sox in June.
Heading into play Monday night, the Red Sox are 14-5 in June and sit just one game behind the Yankees for first place in the AL East.
Much of that is due to the fact that Pedroia, who’s hitting .359 with 11 RBIs, eight doubles and six steals in June, is looking like his old self.
The second baseman has also used June to regain his knack for delivering clutch hits. Pedroia delivered a game-winning single Saturday against Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton.
But it’s been Pedroia’s ability to get on base — he has a .422 OBP this month — that has helped the heart of the Red Sox order and hitters like Kevin Youkilis, Victor Martinez, and David Ortiz get hot and take full advantage of their RBI capabilities.
When Pedroia is hitting well out of the two-hole, he also serves as great protection for whoever is leading off.
Lately, due to an injury to normal leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury, that spot has been filled by shortstop Marco Scutaro.
Scutaro hit just .261 in May while Pedroia was struggling, but is hitting .317 in June, partly due to his double-play partner’s turnaround. With Pedroia tearing the cover off the ball, opposing pitchers are more likely to give Scutaro more fastballs to hit in hopes of not walking him and having to deal with Pedroia coming to plate with a man on base.
So while the Red Sox have overcome injuries to several key players this year, it would be hard to imagine this team with a 43-28 record without their MVP.