Crawford finally getting comfortable at the plate

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Crawford finally getting comfortable at the plate

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT -- Asked if a .244 batting average ever felt so good, Carl Crawford smiled before replying.

Nah, he said. But I got to take what I can get right now.

In the last two games, Crawford has been taking more than his share. Thursday against the Tigers, he went 4-for-5 with two triples, two runs scored, and three RBI. In his last two games combined, he has gone 8-for-9 with two doubles, two triples, a home run, five runs scored, and five RBI, raising his average to .244, his high-water mark for the season.

We talked about it, said manager Terry Francona. We said we were going to enjoy it. Its been two days in a row where its four hits, and theyre good swings. They werent at pitches out of the strike zone. Hes pulling balls in the gap. Using his legs. It was a matter of time but its certainly nice to see.

In the past four games, Crawford has gone 10-for-16 (.625) with eight runs scored, six RBI, two doubles, two triples, two home runs, two walks, one strikeout and one stolen base. In that time he has raised his average 35 points (from .209), his on-base percentage 34 points (from .243 to .277), and his slugging percentage 91 points (from .277 to .368).

Its starting to be fun for him.

It feels real good just to be able to hit the ball and play like yourself, he said. I havent felt that way in a long time. So to have that feeling back for a few days feels great.

It feels great to be winning. The teams hitting. Everybodys playing well and contributing. Everybody's swinging the bats well. We just hope we can keep that going.

Just feeling a little bit more comfortable at the plate, trying to really get my pitch to hit and not missing it when I do get a chance to drive the ball.

Being more comfortable, more relaxed at the plate makes a big difference for a hitter.

I dont disagree with that, Francona said. I think its hard when youre struggling. Its like when we were 2-11 or 2-10, we talked about it all the time: You got to be strong enough to look up there and realize that well straighten this out. But it takes some patience and all of a sudden you get in that mode and you want to go 3-for-1 as a hitter. It doesnt work.

But these last couple of days, theyll do him a world of good. Regardless of what youre hitting, if you feel like youre going in one direction, its better. And he certainly feels that way. The weathers warmed up somewhat and I think that helps him. Hes got his legs under him. You can see the swings hes taking. Theyre good swings. But I think now he can go out and play.

Two of Crawfords four hits Thursday were triples. He now has eight two-triple games, the last on July 26, 2008, while with the Rays against the Royals. Its ironic he would add to that count on Thursday, because he was a triple shy of the cycle when he went 4-for-4 on Wednesday in Cleveland.

I guess, a day late, said Crawford.

But for the Sox, who moved into a first-place tie with the Yankees, who were off Thursday, its right on time.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."