Varitek was quick to give credit to Jacoby Ellsbury for setting the tone atop the lineup. Just as quick, Varitek made sure he did not discredit Dustin Pedroia, whose bat in the two-hole (and occasionally cleanup) has been just as good.
A day later, praise for the top two hitters in the best lineup in baseball continued to come in waves.
Ellsbury and Pedroia combined for six hits, five runs and four RBIs in Boston's 12-5 victory Wednesday. They wasted little time making Varitek look good with back-to-back homers to start the bottom of the first inning, providing a lightning-quick answer for the Royals' three runs in the top half of the inning.
"I think Ells and Pedey, they make it tough on everyone," said designated hitter David Ortiz, who also chipped in with a grand slam in the fourth inning. "What those guys do at the top of the lineup is ridiculous."
Ridiculous, absurd, asinine. Any word of that nature would work, especially when one considers the off-the-chart numbers that the tandem is producing.
Ellsbury's home run, which was a frozen rope off the Pesky Pole, was his eighth in 17 games, his fourth to lead off a game this year and instantly increased his hitting streak to nine games. By adding a pair of hits later in the game, his average during that run sits at an astounding (that word works well, too) .474 (18-for-38).
The speed demon has the most home runs in the month of July for a Red Sox center fielder (eight) since 1946. He is batting .413 (38-for-92) in July. Ellsbury has already matched a career high with 60 RBIs.
Pedroia's blast over the Green Monster extended his career-high hitting streak to 24, the longest in the American League this year. With his two hits later in the game, he sits at .406 (where have we seen that number before?) during the surge. Pedroia is hitting .423 (41-for-97) in July, .682 (15-for-22) against lefties in the month and he has reached base in a career-high 36 straight games.
The numbers are just silly. The team is the beneficiary.
"When Ells and Pedey together are hot, that's a really good combination," manager Terry Francona said.
The Red Sox have now scored in double figures a major league-high 16 times, all of them in the last 59 games. That's an average of one double-digit output ever 3.7 games, which just isn't fair. It is no coincidence that the two guys at the top of the order have been hotter than ever during the run.
It's Ells and Pedey, and it's a massive headache for opposing pitchers.
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