Mike from Attleboro: For Pedroia, it's time to shape up or ship out

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Mike from Attleboro: For Pedroia, it's time to shape up or ship out

This Red Sox season is over. The trade of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers was the Major League Baseball equivalent of Dr. Kavorkian hooking the Mercitron onto the remainder of this seasons schedule. Even the sellout streak, on artificial life support since the season began, may finally be put to rest as well. When this type of news amounts to progress, you know you are close to rock bottom.

The 2012 Red Sox were a sinking ship. This was painfully obvious to rationally minded fans and could be seen coming for a nautical mile. After reading the Boston Globes Dan Shaughnessys most recent interview with Dustin Pedroia, it was clear the rats also knew the water levels were rising and were looking for dry land.

This whole charade that Pedroia and Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine get along swell is really laughable and I would have preferred if he just told the press to go do something anatomically impossible with themselves instead. But Dusty No Sack has now proven that in addition to not being able to ride a rollercoaster without an adult, he cant ever be considered a stand-up guy, let alone a team leader. Remember when Pedrioa was thought of as the next captain when Jason Varitek retired? Those were the days.

Dustin Pedroia, Tito Franconas cribbage partner and clubhouse teachers pet, has been at the forefront of Bobby Valentine bashing this season, and yet in not one but two exclusives with Shaughnessy, has tried to explain away the obvious rift with Bobby V.

The most blatant and early SNAFU in the Pedroia, Valentine relationship was Pedroias public response to Bobby V calling out the emotionally brittle Kevin Youkillis.

I dont really understand what Bobbys trying to do, but thats not the way we go about our stuff around here, he said back then.

I want to give Dustin some credit here. Unlike his rumored photo mocking a slumbering Bobby V, this shot publicly cut the legs out from the manager under the guise of being a good teammate and was at least on the record.

But now Dusty wants you to know that he and Bobby get along great!

In Chicago, Pedroia wasnt snubbing Valentine when Bobby V. went to the mound. He just swallowed his dip!

In the now famous New York insurrection Pedroia was reportedly one of the most vocal of the mutineers, but it wasnt about Bobby according to The Muddy Chicken (now simply The Chicken) . I wasnt vocal in any way toward Bobby. That was the part that bothered me.

If Dusty No Sack isnt in full PR retreat about his manager, its about why he wasnt at Sox Legend Johnny Peskys funeral. Only David Ortiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Clay Bucholz and Vincente Padilla were present, and I am pretty sure Padilla just went to pretend Mark Teixeira was in the casket. This attendance was a terrible reflection on almost the entire roster but a guy who should be a team leader, the Laser Show, had an excuse ready to go: His wife is nine months pregnant and ready to give birth at any time, and he made sure he spent his off day with her. Except for that night when he went to the Beckett Bowl...

All of the above is both aggravating and disappointing coming from a player that used to be unconditionally loved by the fans of this team. But it still isnt enough for me to want him gone in the next roster purge. However, when you couple it with the declining on-field performance and increasing fragility, its time to let the Pedro Ciriaco era begin!

Lets face facts. Dustin Pedroia will never again be the same player that won the AL MVP in 2008. The Laser Show is well on his way to becoming Flashlight Tag as struggles through a season that looks to be his worst since his rookie year. Its also the second of the last three seasons where hes missed significant time due to injury. Pedroia is the type of player that absolutely needs to play balls to the wall with one hundred percent effort all game, every game. Its part of what made him so beloved with fans. Its also what will increase his declining production as time goes on. As he ages, his already slight frame will succumb more and more frequently to this type of playabuse.

If this team is really one hundred percent committed to an organizational reboot then anyone with value who isnt part of the immediate or long term rebuilding plans needs to be used as capital to bring in building blocks for the future. Its clear to me that an entitled, disingenuous veteran declining in both performance and durability would be a perfect candidate for a For Sale sign.

And based on his recent damage control efforts with Shaughnessy, Pedroia himself may now know that even his job security is now in question. His attempts to remind fans that he was a big part of the good old days did not go unnoticed.

"Its been difficult. But our fans are smart. Im sure they understand. They know what kind of guy I am. They should."

Fans allowing marginally effective players with clubhouse crippling character flaws to hang around for nostalgias sake? Sorry Dustin, thats not the way we go about our stuff around here.

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

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Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

BOSTON — Matt Barnes has been coping with more than just a few bad outings on the mound, and he’s asking for help.

The Red Sox set-up man made some mechanical corrections that paid off in the eighth inning Monday night, when he struck out all three Twins he faced in a 4-1 Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

“I just simplified the mechanics,” Barnes said afterward. “Two days ago, I was trying to get with more of an up, down, and out approach. I felt better in that outing. I know I gave up a run and walked the one guy, but I felt better around the zone. And then just kind of went into a slide step, doing what Andrew Miller was doing.”

Barnes allowed four runs spanning his previous three outings, retiring just four batters while walking five. But Barnes has had a lot more to worry about than just a brief professional rut. 

He’s been devoted to helping his girlfriend, Chelsea, through the unexpected loss of her father, who was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke

"Her father passed away [May 27]. That’s why I wasn’t in Baltimore for the two days [in early June], I was at his funeral,” Barnes said. "It’s tough, dealing with that, and she’s obviously having a hard time with it. She’s got her good days and her bad days. But it’s not easy. He was sick for a little while, and unexpectedly passed a lot faster than anybody ever expected him to. So, it’s been tough. She’s been alright, considering.”

There are a ton of medical bills still to be paid. A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with some large medical bills, and Barnes has asked on Twitter for people to spread the word if they’re able to.

“I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her which is nice,” Barnes said of his girlfriend. “Everybody who’s helped out with donations and spreading the page, I couldn’t be more grateful, and she couldn’t be more grateful.”

Barnes is a big leaguer, but he’s still young and making the major league minimum. For every $1,000 total donated, Barnes plans to send a signed baseball to a random donor.

“I felt like it was a nice way, if they’re going to help me out, I can at least do that in return for them,” Barnes said.

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

BOSTON -- The way Chris Sale and the Boston relievers were pitching, the Red Sox didn't need to score a lot.

Sale went 6 1/3 overpowering innings with nine strikeouts, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the third straight game and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Monday in a matchup of two of the AL's top teams.

"When you've got him on the mound, all you need is a couple and he's going to do the rest," Moreland said. "Obviously, tonight was another example of that."

Dustin Pedroia had two hits and drove in a run and Moreland added a sacrifice fly for Boston, which kept pace with the New York Yankees atop the East.

The Red Sox started fast, grabbing a 2-0 lead just four batters into the first.

"When the guys score early for you, it's nice," Sale said. "It settles you down a little bit and allows you to throw strikes."

Coming off a three-game sweep in Cleveland that had jumped them over the Indians into first in the Central, the Twins' offense was stymied by Sale and three relievers. The loss coupled with Cleveland's win over Texas moved the Indians back a half-game ahead.

Sale (10-3) gave up one run and four hits, increasing his major-league strikeout total to 155. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 21st save after Matt Barnes struck out three in the eighth. Heath Hembree faced one batter, getting a double play.

The 6-foot-6 Sale relied on his usual sharp-breaking slider and fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s to fan eight over the first six innings, getting the initial half dozen with his breaking pitch.

"It's what we've seen many times. He had a nice mix," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think the biggest trouble we had was with that slider, especially down and in to righties."

Jose Berrios (7-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Chris Gimenez had a solo homer for Minnesota.

"When you go against a guy like Chris Sale, you try to give 110 percent," Berrios said through a translator.

Boston jumped ahead when Moreland homered into the first row of Green Monster seats after the first run scored on a double-play grounder.

Berrios had given up just two runs in each of his previous four starts, and six of eight since being promoted on May 7.

Gimenez's homer completely left Fenway Park over the Monster.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: Molitor said RHP Phil Hughes, on the 10-day disabled list since late May with biceps tenderness, "felt good" but the pitcher had hoped his velocity would be a bit higher. ... LHP Glen Perkins, on the DL with a shoulder strain, is expected to resume throwing again Tuesday after a setback about a week ago.

Red Sox: DH Hanley Ramirez was out with a sore left knee after getting hit by a pitch Sunday. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the 10-day DL since June 20 with a left inner-ear infection, is slated to start a rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. Manager John Farrell said there's no planned date for his return. ... Moreland fouled a ball that bounced and hit near his right eye.

NICE START, KID

Red Sox 3B Tzu-Wei Lin singled to right in his first major-league at-bat and first career start.

The 23-year-old from Taiwan played third on his country's national teams in 2009 and 2010. He's the second Taiwanese-born player to make Boston's major-league roster. Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin was the other, in 2012.

RUNNING AROUND

Twins LF Eddie Rosario made three nice running, over-the-shoulder catches.

WELCOME ABOARD

Infielder Jhonny Peralta reported to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. Boston signed him to a minor-league deal after he was released by St. Louis earlier this month.

The plan is to alternate him at third and DH with Sandoval.

ROSTER MOVE

The Twins sent RHP Dillon Gee back to Triple-A to make room for Tuesday's starter LHP Hector Santiago.

UP NEXT

Twins: Santiago (4-6, 5.26 ERA) will be activated off the DL Tuesday. He's been sidelined since June 7 with a strained left shoulder.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 4.07) looks to snap a three-start winless stretch.