Dustin Pedroia stands at 5-foot-9 and plays on a team that features David Ortiz and a host of exciting young stars, so he’s used to being overlooked.
But it’s getting pretty hard to ignore what the Boston Red Sox second baseman is doing at the plate this season.
Pedroia had another stellar night Friday, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and a team-high four RBIs in Boston’s 13-3 blowout of the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
That type of performance is par for the course of late for the 33-year-old veteran, who has been on an absolute tear over the last month: He’s hitting a ridiculous .469 over his last 29 games and has tallied two or more hits in 11 of his last 13 contests.
Pedroia’s latest outburst boosted his batting average to .329, just 10 percentage points behind American League batting leader Jose Altuve.
It might be a little late for Pedroia to work his way alongside Altuve and teammate Mookie Betts in the AL MVP race, but he very well could be on pace for the best season of his career.
Pedroia’s best year to date came during his MVP campaign in 2008, which saw him post a .326 batting average with 17 home runs and 83 RBIs while leading the league with 213 hits and the team with 118 runs scored.
Pedey probably won’t reach those power numbers, as he has 12 homers and 64 RBIs with just 22 games remaining in the season. But he certainly could finish with a better batting average than his MVP season and also is on pace to have a higher on-base percentage.
The veteran second baseman’s 2008 season still probably holds a slight edge to his current campaign, but the fact that he’s hitting at this rate at 33 years old in his 11th big league season makes this year all that more impressive.
Let’s hit a few other notes from Red Sox-Blue Jays:
— Pedroia’s big night managed to be overshadowed by Rick Porcello, who once again delivered to pick up his major-league leading 20th win.
The Red Sox right-hander is the first pitcher to reach 20 wins this season and first Boston hurler to reach the 20-win plateau since Josh Beckett in 2007.
Porcello now has won 12 of his last 14 starts to improve to 20-3, but his season still isn’t over. The 27-year-old could make four more starts over the team’s final 22 games, and if he wins all four contests, he’ll enter rare air: Roger Clemens is the only Red Sox pitcher since 1950 to win 24 games in a single season.
— Pedroia also has enjoyed quite a bit of success against the Blue Jays lately, and he passed a certain Red Sox second baseman-turned-NESN color commentator Friday night.
— Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless ninth inning, while Brad Ziegler gave up a run (albeit unearned) on two hits and an error in the eighth. Both were low-leverage appearances, but manager John Farrell hinted before the game that Uehara could be Boston’s elusive eighth-inning man once he gets back to full speed.
“He would be the guy where you don’t really play into left-right,” Farrell said of Uehara, via the Providence Journal. “We’re always going to try to use Brad’s strengths to our advantage. But the more that we can get to someone knowing that they have the eighth inning and they can prepare mentally, they’re probably more equipped than just relying on the matchups.”
— The Red Sox added another arm to their big league club Friday, recalling left-hander Henry Owens from Triple-A Pawtucket.
Owens, who is 0-1 with a 7.79 ERA in four starts with Boston this season, likely will serve as insurance in the rotation should any of the team’s starters go down.
— MLB.com’s “MLB Pipeline” released its annual Prospect Team of the Year on Friday, and Red Sox prospects accounted for two of the nine spots, as outfielder Andrew Benintendi and infielder Yoan Moncada both made the cut.
The Philadelphia Phillies (Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins) were the only other team with multiple players on the prospect squad.
Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images