Dustin Pedroia’s Struggles Continue Following First Day Off of 2011 Season

Dustin Pedroia received his first day off Thursday, hoping to recharge after a late game the night before. Mired in a 6-for-50 slide, he certainly could've used the break.

Back in the lineup on Friday against Minnesota, Pedroia's struggles continued. He was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, giving him 26 of those in just 31 games this year and nine in only five games in May. All this for a player who entered the season having fanned just once every three games in his career.

The slump has dropped Pedroia's batting average from .333 to .235. Each of his six hits during the 13-game schnide have been singles. He has had loads of issues with breaking balls.

While Red Sox manager Terry Francona knew that a day off was necessary, he also knows he can be patient with his former MVP.

"A day off doesn't ensure you're going to go 4-for-4, but I think he needed the rest," Francona said. "Pedey's scuffling right now, but he'll get as hot as he got cold. He always does."

Francona can draw on plenty from Pedroia's past to make such a statement. If he needs hard evidence, a similar stretch last year preceded a prototypical Pedroia breakout.

From May 12 through June 9, 2010, the All-Star second baseman went 17-for-101 (.168) to see his average fall 57 points to .248. There was just one home run and five RBIs during the 24-game stretch.

The next 13 games leading up to the unfortunate affair in San Francisco in which Pedroia broke his left foot saw him rake at a remarkable .500 (26-for-52) clip. The surge included four home runs and 13 RBIs, the masterpiece coming in the finale in Colorado, where he went 5-for-5 with three home runs.

When it was all said and done, Boston had gone 9-4, Pedroia's average rested at .292 and his name began to circulate in MVP discussions once again. It also gave Francona the opportunity to gush about his on-the-field leader, something he expects to be doing in just a little while.

"I'll be sitting up here bragging about him real soon," Francona said.

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