Pedroia still searching for timing

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Pedroia still searching for timing

BOSTON Since returning to the lineup on Tuesday, after missing six games because of a torn adductor muscle in his right thumb, Dustin Pedroia has gone 2-for-20 with a run scored, two RBI, two walks and seven strikeouts. His average has dropped from .295 to .277 in that span.

His sixth-inning single Friday night against Stephen Strasburg snapped an 0-for-14 slide.

Saturday, he went 1-for-4 with a sixth-inning single against Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez.

Pedroia came to the plate with two outs and the Red Sox rallying in the seventh -- with two runs in already in the inning, now down by two runs, having knocked Gonzalez out of the game.

But Pedroia popped out to first baseman Adam LaRoche in foul territory to end the rally.

"He's got great effort, and I think they're pitching him really tough, said manager Bobby Valentine. He hasn't got a lot of great pitches to hit. And the ones that he's gotten, his timing's just been off a little."

Pedroia insists hes feeling better at the plate, seconding his managers opinion that he just needs to work on getting his timing back.

I feel alright, Pedroia said. Timings still a little off. A little late on the heater and early on off-speed pitches. But Ill have one at-bat where it clicks and take off.

His timing being off is just a factor of the time he had off, he said.

Yeah, thats it, he said. The past few days Ive hit the ball actually pretty good. Today I really didnt, but the last few days. But I got to start finding a way to get on base and help us score runs.

The 4-2 loss to the Nationals on Saturday was the Sox fifth in the last six games, dropping them under .500, at 29-30, for the first time since May 27. Its not a team slump, Pedroia said, just a matter of facing good pitching.

The last two guys Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg were pretty darn good, he said. So we got to come out and find a way to have better at-bats and score runs for our guy.

He insists hes fine physically, the brace hes been wearing is not hindering him, and the thumb is fine.

Ill be alright, he said. Ill get hits, dont worry.

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

There are still two full months of games left on the schedule and who knows what might happen in that time, or what else might befall the Red Sox.

But for now, it's no stretch to suggest that Thursday's excruciating 2-1 setback in Anaheim constitutes the worst loss of the season to date. The point hardly seems debatable.

Consider:

THE TIMING: This was the start of the longest, and in many ways, most challenging road trip of the season, with 11 games in 11 days. It comes immediately after a homestand that was highly disappointing, featuring a mere split with the last-place Minnesota Twins and a sweep at the hands of the otherwise mediocre Detroit Tigers.

There's been a great deal of attention focused on how many road games the Sox have to play through the rest of the season. Winning the opener -- and snapping a three-game losing streak in the process - would have felt like a strong statement that the club was ready and able to meet the challenges of the schedule.

THE STARTING PITCHER: The loss wiped out a standout performance by David Price, who may well hold the key to whether the Red Sox grab a playoff spot this fall.

Price has been woefully inconsistent in his first season with the Red Sox, alternating between brief stretches of dominance and periods of underwhelming outings.

For a change Thursday night, Price seemed on the verge of winning one of those "statement'' games, when he would make one measly run in the third inning stand up. There have been too many times, given his standing as the team's No. 1 starter, in which Price has pitched just well enough to lose -- like the pitcher's duels in which he came up short against the likes of Madison Bumgarner and Chris Tillman.

But on Thursday, Price didn't buckle. And never mind that he was matched against an aging and depleted Jered Weaver. Price had next-to-nothing with which to work, but he protected the 1-0 lead with a determination he has seldon shown in Boston.

And for his effort to go wasted sets an inauspicious marker for this demanding trip. There was something symbolic about having Price set the tone at the start with a low-scoring, must-have game.

He did his part. Unfortunately for Price, that wasn't enough.

THE WAY IN WHICH IT HAPPENED: Walk-off losses are never pleasant, whether they come on a homer, or a base hit up the middle.

But considering that the Red Sox had the ability to turn Daniel Nava's tapper to first into a game-ending double play, and instead, saw it result in a two-run throwing error on the part of Hanley Ramirez, makes it all the more crushing.

Brad Ziegler, who gave up a go-ahead game-winning homer in the final game of the homestand Wednesday, essentially did his job in the ninth. He got Mike Trout to hit a chopper, which resulted in an infield single. And he kept the ball on the ground and in the infield, with the Sox bringing the infield in with the bases loaded and one out.

Better execution, and the Red Sox walk away with a thrilling 1-0 victory to begin their West Coast trek. Instead, they walk off the field, heads down, with the wrong precedent being set.