Pedroia: I wish I could have been at Pesky's funeral

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Pedroia: I wish I could have been at Pesky's funeral

BOSTON Sitting in the Red Sox dugout Thursday afternoon before the series finale against the Angels, Dusting Pedroia addressed several topics affecting his team recently.

Including the paltry showing by players at the funeral for Johnny Pesky on Monday, an off-day after a 10-game road trip, when Jarrod Saltalamacchia, David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, and Vicente Padilla were the only players to attend.

Im sure everyone had a situation why they werent there, Pedroia said. I wish I could have been there. Obviously, everyone knows how we all feel about Johnny. We all love him. Were all here for his family and everybody.

I dont want to say anything that offends anybody. The only thing I could say is that were here for his family and Johnny, he was the best, man. We all love him, and thats about all I can say.

Asked if he had read any of the stories castigating the players who did not attend Peskys funeral, Pedroia replied:

I havent read them. Trying to concentrate on playing baseball right now. I understand that, the scrutiny that comes along with playing in Boston, especially when you dont play well, but I havent read the articles. I dont even know what they said.

This was just the latest in a series of off-field situations for which the team has been chastised this season.

Ive been here, this is my sixth year, the first five it seemed it was you just show up to the ballpark and do all you can to help your team win and thats all you worried about, Pedroia said. And were trying to do that right now. Were trying to focus on the game and facing Angels left-hander CJ Wilson tonight and worrying about playing a baseball game. And some of that has been a little trying this year but were trying to put all the stuff behind us and play baseball.

Pedroia understands the underlying causes for why it has been different this season than his first five.

Well, obviously the way I think last year ended, I think that left a sour taste, not only in our teams mouth, but the city, the fans, everybody, he said. I think its added expectation and pressure to win till that goes away. And I think at some points this year weve probably put too much pressure on ourselves to try to stop that. I know I have. I want to win more than anybody. And when you try to go out there and try to create something and make something happen, for me as a player, when you try to get a hit, you dont get a hit, you dont let the game come to you and let your talents come out.

So I think at times weve done that. I think thats the biggest thing. You have to win here. You dont want to let anybody down. And I feel like I have. I feel like the team has. We feel that way, too. So we want to make sure we win and make this a special place.

Its tough. Its tough. When you want to do something so bad and you worked real hard for a goal and youre not playing well and its not going youre way, its frustrating. Because we put in a lot of hard work. And just little things that go wrong during a game, or something like that, thats the stuff that gets to you. But you got to try to put it behind you and go out and work even harder and try to find a way to make your team better.

The season has been an on-going series of stories that have come to light putting the team and certain players in a negative light.

Yeah, its tough, its tough, Pedroia said. Were all family, man. Thats the way we view our team. And when things are said about one certain guy or another guy, it doesnt just affect that person. It affects everybody. I think thats the tough part as a team to stay together is when somethings pulling you in another direction. Its tough. If someone says something bad about manager Bobby Valentine or me or anybody, it still affects our guys. We just want to make it we understand. You dont play well in Boston, you're going to get criticized and it makes it tough. But we got to try to find a way to overcome that and play winning baseball and not let this place down.

Asked if it has been difficult to come to the park this season, Pedroia replied:

Its the big leagues, man. Im sure, I think, guys lose sight of that this game is fun. Were playing in a great city, the best ballpark in sports. So it should be fun. Guys should come to the field ready to play hard, ready to win, and enjoy it.

But, that hasnt always been the case this season.

Yeah, when youre not doing what you want to do, its not fun, he said. But you got to try to fight through the tough times and turn it around into a positive.

The Red Sox have had significant injuries this season to key players. Other teams have been hit with injuries, too, Pedroia said.

I dont think anybodys thinking about that, he said. We just got to come out, whoevers in the lineup that day or whoevers pitching or whoever's called upon in the bullpen or off the bench, we all got to have the mindset of we got to try to help our team win, whether thats bunting a guy over, or hit and runs, or whatever were asked from. So we got to try find a way to do that.

Pedroia was asked if he expects significant changes to the team this offseason.

I dont know, he said. I havent talked to anybody. I just expect our team, for whoevers here, to come and play their hearts out and try to win the game. You cant plan for freak injuries, or stuff like that. Every team goes through that. And teams have. Weve been hit hard. They Yankees have. They lost Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia. Theyve had big injuries, too. But theyve had other guys step up and fill the roles. So injuries arent an excuse. We just got to come out and try to find a way to go on a run.

Obviously, losing in this atmosphere is unacceptable and we all take responsibility for it. Like I said, the seasons not over and Im not quitting by any means and neither is any one of our guys. Were going to go out there, play as hard as we can and try to win games.

Pedroia is hopeful the team can win back its fans.

I hope that hard work and wins will win back the trust of the fans and the city because I love this place, he said. I love the fans. They treated me great and we plan on making them happy soon.

McAdam: Doesn't take long for second-guessing of Farrell to resume

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McAdam: Doesn't take long for second-guessing of Farrell to resume

Three takeaways from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night . . . 

1) Long relief may be short for the Red Sox in the postseason

The news that Drew Pomeranz won't start Thursday and is dealing with forearm soreness was ominous -- to say the least. While the Sox aren't concerned enough to order up an MRI for the lefty, it seems a fair bet that he won't pitch again this season. Pomeranz wasn't going to crack the postseason rotation and would likely have been relegated to relief duty. Now, even that seems a stretch.

Add that development to the continued absence of Steven Wright and the Red Sox are missing 40 percent of their rotation from late July and early August.

Healthy, both would have been stretched-out and available to provide multiple innings in the postseason.

Of course, most teams would prefer to not have to rely on long men in the postseason, since their very appearance in a game would signifiy that a starter got knocked out early.

When that happens, however, it's nice to have experienced, dependable arms to cover innings and not impact the bullpen's high-leverage pitchers.

Now, in such a scenario, the Sox will likely have to turn to either Robbie Ross Jr. or Heath Hembree.

2) Is Aaron Hill heating up?

In the month of September, Hill has posted a line of .381/.409/.571. On Tuesday night, he blasted a pinch-hit homer.

Admittedly, that's a relatively small sample size. But Hill has had better at-bats of late, especially against lefties.

It's doubtful that he'll take over third base -- now or in the postseason -- full-time, since John Farrell has two left-handed hitting options, with Travis Shaw and Brock Holt. Shaw certainly more power and has shown the ability to go on hot streaks at the plate.

But Hill is a veteran player, albeit one with little postseason experience (11 at-bats in the Division Series for Arizona in 2011) for a 12-year veteran.

And one other benefit: Hill is a .373 career hitter as a pinch-hitter, making him a valuable part off the bench in games started by either Holt or Shaw.

3) One loss is all it took for the second-guessing to resurface

The Sox had won 11 straight before Tuesday's loss, which quickly re-introduced criticism of Farrell.

Starter David Price had given up four runs through six innings, but the Sox rallied for two runs off Tommy Layne in the seventh to tie things at 4-4.

At 76 pitches, Price went back out for the seventh and promptly yielded a two-run homer to Tyler Austin, giving the Yanks another two-run lead.

Price hadn't been sharp in the first six. With expanded rosters, plenty of available relievers and a rested bullpen after a day off Monday, why stick with Price?

Offered Farrell: "You go with a right-hander they’re going to go with [Mark] Teixeira and [Brian] McCann with that right-field porch,” Farrell said. “Wanted to keep the (right-handed hitters) in the ballgame, (but Price) mislocated over the plate.”

Felger: Will October be a dance or a dud?

Felger: Will October be a dance or a dud?

For a Red Sox team that has been the best in baseball in September and had won 11 straight prior to last night, you have to admit: There are a lot of things that could go the other way with this team in the playoffs that wouldn't surprise you.

To wit:

-- Would it surprise you if David Price blew up again in the postseason? He has a 5.12 career postseason ERA and has never won a playoff start. Was last night a precursor? He looked like his old shaky October self with a chance to clinch the division in Yankee Stadium.

-- Would it surprise you if Clay Buchholz crapped his pants when it mattered most? This is your No. 3 starter, folks, or No. 4 at worst. He's getting the ball in the playoffs either way, and if I told you that two months ago you'd tell me the Sox are sunk. He looks good now, but we all know he is the ultimate tease.

-- Would it surprise you if John Farrell blows a game with a bone-headed decision from the bench? Of course not; he's been doing that for nearly four years. Yes, he did it all the way to a title in 2013, but the possibility remains very real. It's in the back of most everyone's mind.

-- Would it surprise you if Koji Uehara regresses and the eighth inning once again becomes a problem? Uehara certainly has the experience and has pitched well recently, but the fact is that it feels like his arm is attached by a noodle.

-- Would it surprise you if some of the Sox' youth shows its age? It shouldn't. Happens all the time. Would it surprise you if Craig Kimbrel can't find the plate in a big save situation? It shouldn't. He's shown glimpses of it all season and has never pitched past the division series in his career. Would it surprise you if Hanley Ramirez makes an important mistake at first? Or the Sox' hole at third becomes a factor? Nope and nope.

We could play this game all night.

Now, what do I think is going to happen? I think the Sox are going to pitch well, even Price, and the offense will remain a force. I have full faith in Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Rick Porcello and the lineup in general. There's a feeling on this team that's hard to ignore, likely inspired by Ortiz, and I think they'll keep it going in the postseason. I agree with those who say the Sox have the most talent in the American League, so that's a great place to start. I don't know if that means the ALCS, the World Series or a championship. I just think they'll continue to play well into October.

But all of that is just a feeling, just a prediction -- and you know what those are good for. The point is this: If it goes the other way for the Sox, I think we already have the reasons why.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN.