NEW YORK ?? Through 100 games, the Red Sox have lacked fire. And now, Dustin Pedroia is trying to light one under them.
Shortly after Friday's 10-3 loss to the Yankees — the eighth loss in the last 10 games — the Red Sox second baseman challenged the organization and blasted his team for their recent play.
"The first 100 games have been [expletive]," Pedroia said. "We're two games under .500 and we're the Boston Red Sox. If everyone is thrilled about where we're at, we need to re-evaluate because I don't like losing. We need to play better, man."
Pedroia was in position to make his bold comments, considering he smacked a solo home run in the first inning. It marked Pedroia's second straight game with a blast and now he's batting .313 (10-for-32) in eight games since returning from the disabled list.
But he was tired of outsiders using injuries as a crutch. As far as Pedroia is concerned, the Red Sox are sitting at 49-51 due to lackluster play and not because of the absence of marquee talents like Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford and David Ortiz.
"When I was hurt, Pedro [Ciriaco] hit .400," Pedroia said. "When Carl was out, [Daniel] Nava hit .350. The injuries, that's an excuse. I'm not going to make one. These other guys shouldn't either. We win as a team and we lose as a team. When injuries happen, guys have stepped up and played their butts off. They put us in a position to make a run."
During Friday's game, the Red Sox offense appeared to come alive as Pedroia, Carl Crawford and Jarrod Saltalamacchia clubbed solo shots. Once the Yankees added two more runs in the fourth — to take the lead — Pedroia didn't like his team's response.
"Our at bats later in the game were not good," Pedroia said. "We're swinging early in the count. Heck, if their eighth inning guy is going to come into the game, let's at least get 25-30 pitches, so maybe he can't pitch tomorrow. Do something productive and we're not doing that. That's a sign of not a winning team."
The disparity between the Red Sox and the Yankees is growing exponentially. By winning Friday's showdown, New York improved to 6-1 versus Boston this season and has won nine of the last 11 games against their American League East rivals.
Pedroia said he still believes the Red Sox are due for a hot streak, one they've lacked this season. But with their backs against the wall, he's simply trying to turn up the heat at this crucial stretch in the season.
"I feel urgency, talking to a lot of guys, we all do," Pedroia said. "We need to win. That's all we feel. Maybe that's putting added pressure on guys to come out of their comfort zone and do things that they're not capable of doing. Then we need to take a step back and relax."