Nation STATion: Love that Muddy Chicken

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Nation STATion: Love that Muddy Chicken

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

Dustin Pedroia has a new nickname. In the wee hours of the morning, after the Red Sox defeated the Rays 1-0 in 16 innings, Josh Beckett (who pitched brilliantly) said, "The Muddy Chicken is definitely the player of the game."

Watch as soon the nickname will go viral. You will hear him called that tonight when you watch the game, you will see it in print, there will be signs at Fenway, t-shirts sold on the street, bobble-head dolls created, and restaurant entrees named for him.

And Beckett added, "He got it done when we absolutely needed it."

But doesnt the Muddy Chicken do that more than any player on the team?

Think about this: In the five hour and 44 minute marathon last night, the Rays were 3-for-50, the rest of the Red Sox were 2-for-45, and Pedroia was 3-for-7 (and he was robbed on a great play by B.J. Upton in the 15th).

Around this time of the year in 2008 (622 to 79), the player formerly known as the Laser Show, had a career high 17-game hitting streak in which he hit .474 (36-for-76). He had a 16-game streak in 2009 and hit .375 (24-for-64).

Last night, Pedroia extended his current hitting streak to 15 games. He is hitting .384 (25-for-65) during the streak, and doing it with power. He has seven homers during this stretch after hitting just three in each of his two previous longest runs.

Since June 15 he has reached base safely in 27 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors. Over that time, hes scored 26 runs and driven in 19. In 129 plate appearances, hes struck out only nine times.

Not coincidentally, since June 9, when Dustin Pedroia had his knee scoped, he has hit .378 (48-for-127) with nine homers, slugged .701, and had an OPS of 1.171. Hes hit .463 against lefties since that date. Not only that, he has walked in 15.2 of his plate appearances. Since June 9, hes hit .409 with runners in scoring position.

To show you how good the Muddy Chicken has been, during that time period, hes hit .333 when the count is 0-2 and .386 when hes had two strikes on him at any point in the count. In his last 151 plates appearances, hes struck out just 11 times while in the 153 plate appearances prior to that (May 2 to June 8), he hit .233 with two homers and 21 strikeouts.

Pedey is now hitting .293. Like Youk and Jacoby Ellsbury hes hit 13 homers and his 47 RBI are nearly as many as Jarrod Saltalamacchia (24) and J.D. Drew (24) combined.

Hes such an integral key to the Sox success. In 55 winning games, hes hit .332 and scored 50 runs. In 35 losses hes hit .225 and scored just 12 times.

There are only six infielders in the majors who are in double figures in homers and stolen bases (Pedroia has 17 steals) and none has as high a batting average as Pedroia. Oh yeah, when it comes to fielding, he has a Zone Rating of 5.489, second only Ben Zobrist. And his Total Zone fielding is 10 total fielding runs above average, the best number of any second baseman in baseball.

As I look at Boston's roster, I see Pedroia as the player most likely to be a Sox-lifer. Hes the guy I anticipate inheriting the C when Tek retires as captain. By the time he is done, he will be the Red Sox equivalent of Derek Jeter, although he has already surpassed the Yankee captain by winning the 2008 MVP. Jeter has never been an MVP, finishing second once, and third twice.

Last night after the game, Big Papi said, "Just put it down in the newspaper, I wouldn't trade Pedey for nobody in this league right now."

Hell be even happier when he hears we put it down in Nation STATion.

Gotta love that Muddy Chicken, ahhh Pedey, youre the one.

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

OAKLAND, Calif. - A five-run ninth inning for the Red Sox that lasted more than a half-hour derailed any chance Eduardo Rodriguez had of getting his first career complete game.

Not that the left-hander was complaining.

After a bitter loss to Oakland a year ago when he allowed just one hit over eight innings, Rodriguez was more than happy with the way things turned out.

Rodriguez earned his second straight win, Mitch Moreland homered in his third consecutive game and Boston beat the Oakland Athletics 12-3 on Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.

"I wanted to go back out there but they hit the ball pretty good in that inning and I know I had to get out of the game," Rodriguez said about the long wait. "I'll take it because we score more runs, I have a chance to win. If every inning's like that, I'll get out of the game after five."

Rodriguez (3-1) allowed three runs over eight innings. He struck out eight, walked one and retired 14 of his final 15 batters.

"Where he was with the pitch count, it'd be nice for him to go out there for the ninth inning given where he was and how well he was throwing the baseball," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "But at that point you're up nine, probably about a 35-minute inning, didn't want to take any chances."

Hanley Ramirez and Christian Vazquez had three hits apiece to power a Red Sox lineup that tallied 15 hits. Every player in Boston's starting lineup had at least one hit, and eight of the nine drove in runs.

Chad Pinder homered and drove in two runs for Oakland.

Boston, which hasn't been swept in a four-game series since July 2015, trailed 3-2 before scoring 10 runs over the final five innings.

"It felt we had them on the run a little bit," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They get the lead and then we come back and take the lead again and you feel pretty good. But they were pretty persistent today."

Pinder went deep in the fourth, his fourth home run in eight games and fifth overall.

The A's committed three errors, giving them a major league-leading 42.

BRADLEY'S DEFENSIVE GEMS

Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts gave the A's trouble with his running and defense. Betts scored twice from first base and also made a pair of strong defensive plays. He made a sliding catch on Mark Canha's sinking liner in the eighth and then slammed into the wall after catching Khris' Davis fly to end the inning.

"This place during the daytime plays very difficult," Farrell said. "What Mookie was able to do a couple times in right field, those aren't easy plays. To be able to stay with it, go up against the wall a couple of times, we played very good outfield defense here today."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Brock Holt continues to deal with lingering symptoms from vertigo and isn't yet ready to come off the disabled list, according to Farrell. Likewise, Boston plans to keep third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the minors to get consistent at-bats while recovering from a right knee sprain. ... Farrell said LHP Drew Pomeranz, who took the loss Saturday, will start against Texas on Thursday.

Athletics: Yonder Alonso (sore left knee) sat out his fourth straight game but could be back in the lineup Tuesday when Oakland begins a two-game series against Miami. ... Sean Doolittle (strained left shoulder) threw on flat ground before making 15 pitches off the mound. The plan is for the former closer to throw 25 pitches on Wednesday. ... Melvin said the team has applied for an extension on Chris Bassitt's rehab assignment. Bassitt underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (2-5) faces Texas on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. Porcello has lost three of his last four decisions.

Athletics: Following an off day, RHP Jesse Hahn (1-3) starts against Miami on Tuesday at the Coliseum. Hahn leads the majors in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings at 0.19.