Pedroia lets his play do the talking


Pedroia lets his play do the talking

BALTIMORE With a group of reporters huddled around his locker in the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards, Dustin Pedroia finished putting on his jacket, popped in his ear buds and stone-facedly walked past every questioner on his way out to the Red Sox team bus.

Pedroia had collected two hits, scored a run, knocked in another run and sparked the Red Sox offense with his antics, energy and uncanny ability to make plays that win ballgames. He did just that in the fifth inning when he tagged up from third and just barely beat an Adam Jones thrown from center field that arrived at home plate just on time.

Hes trying to leave it on the field every single night," manager Bobby Valentine said. "Hes that competitor that makes a team go. He never stops. He hits all pitches. He makes all plays. How hes not on an All-Star team player every year is beyond me. I know this year it was because of the thumb thing, of course.

Thats one of the best arms in the league and it was shallow center field. It seems like he can run just as fast as he has to to be safe. Thats pretty special.

If Pedroia had been gunned down there, it could have been a gut punch for the Sox. Instead, Pedroia scored, let out a primal scream, pumped his feet and immediately lifted the energy in his own dugout en route to a 6-3 win over the Orioles.

I dont know how much more energy he could bring because if he did then he would probably die, said Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He wants to win. The same thing as everybody, but hes the little guy that just goes hard all the time. Its something you can always feed off of. Its fun to watch him play.

His play spoke for itself, and his quiet exit from the clubhouse left his teammates to fill in the blanks with compliments, attaboys and verbal bouquets of all shapes and sizes. Perhaps hes keeping silent now after he was leveled by sharp criticism and harsh accusations in the Yahoo! Sports story accounting players attempting to get Bobby Valentine fired. Perhaps hes just done talking, aside from his play on the field.

He plays as hard as anybody Ive ever seen, said Cody Ross. Even on the ball that I hit to left field that he scored on, he was halfway to third by the time the ball got to the fielders glove and hes trucking as hard as he can.

Hes doing it with the bat too. Its a lot of fun when hes on his game.

Whatever the case hell need to be one of the pivotal guys if things are going to start changing for a Sox team that needs to play .750 baseball the rest of the way. The Sox need accountability, they need urgency and they need non-stop energy and Pedroia brings all those things when its harnessed in one direction.

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.