Pedroia 'frustrated' with Sox' performance

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Pedroia 'frustrated' with Sox' performance

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A year ago, with the Red Sox reeling from another poor start, Dustin Pedroia took it upon himself to draw the line.

Following a humiliating four-game sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays last April, Pedroia called his teammates out on Patriots' Day and famously noted the Sox, at the time, were incapable of beating Brookline High.

On Sunday, after the Red Sox had dropped to 0-3 following a humbling 5-1 loss to Texas, Pedroia again was the most vocal player in the Boston clubhouse.

While others noted that three losses shouldn't be seen as catastrophic and Adrian Gonzalez virtually guaranteed that the Sox would find their way out of their early-season slump and be in contention in September, Pedroia was not as sanguine.

"I think we're all frustrated,'' said Pedroia. "We got outplayed. It's not for lack of talent on our team. We got outpitched, we got outhit. They kicked our butts. That's it. We better show up Tuesday in Cleveland and play better than we've been playing.''

And with that, Pedroia sounded the alarm. He wasn't suggesting that the Red Sox panic -- the worst response a team can have under the circumstances -- and he wasn't suggesting that the Red Sox were lacking effort or focus, as he did last April.

But he was saying that what happened at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington this weekend, where the Sox were outclassed by a cumulative score of 26-11, was, in a word, unacceptable.

Pedroia was careful to point out that the Rangers deserve some credit. He noted that Texas was the defending American League champs and their display of muscle -- 11 homers in three games -- was hardly a shock to anyone.

But he wasn't dismissing the results as unimportant or suggesting that the Red Sox don't have improve their play -- and fast.

"We want to play well,'' he said. "We're not excited about how we played the first three games . . . They came out and put it on us. We're going to have to play a lot better than that to accomplish what we all think we can do.''

As good a player as Pedroia is, this refusal to accept anything less than the best may be his most important attribute.

Baseball is the wrong sport in which to overreact. The season is long and highs and lows are part of the 162-game landscape. Woe is the team which fails to keep an even emotional keel from April through the end of September.

But it never hurts to have a player of Pedroia's caliber speak out when the results aren't what was expected. And after adding two premier players in the offseason to an already talented roster, coming out of gate 0-3 was far from what was expected of the 2011 Red Sox.

He dismissed a question about whether the Sox had suffered through a similar three-game stretch in 20010 as irrelevant.

"We've got a different team,'' said Pedroia flatly. "This isn't last year, so we're turning the page on last year. But I'll tell you what, man - this is a pretty bad three-game stretch right now. So we're going to have to get our stuff together and come out and play well.''

Cleveland would seem to be the right place to start. The Indians are, to be frank, horrendous. On Friday, they were the only pitching staff performing worse than the Red Sox themselves, allowing the White Sox a 14-0 head start before scoring their first runs of 2011.

But it won't be handed to the Red Sox. They'll need to stop leaving fastballs over the middle of the plate, practically inviting the batting practice that the Rangers took. And while they're at it, they'll need to put together better at-bats, with an emphasis on approach and not on overly aggressive free swinging.

Gonzalez and others are right, of course: a three-game sweep has not eliminated the Red Sox from contention. The 1998 New York Yankees, to cite one example, began 0-3 and went on to win 114 games.

Still, a turnaround series in Cleveland prior to coming home for a 10-game homestand against three division rivals would go a long way in pointing the Red Sox in the right direction.

"We're not very happy with the series,'' said Terry Francona. "That's an understatement. But I think there's a difference between being aggravated at a series as opposed to sitting around and panicking.

"We didn't play a very good series. We got outplayed all the way around. Now we've got to go regroup and try to get us a win so we feel better about ourselves.''

Beginning Tuesday, if they know what's good for them.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Quotes, notes, and stars: "No sign" of Ortiz slowing down

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Quotes, notes, and stars: "No sign" of Ortiz slowing down

Quotes, notes, and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 win over the Yankees.

QUOTES:

* "He gathered himself and got a little rhythm as the night went along.'' - John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "That's a rarity for Betances to leave his breaking ball up like he did. Once David saw it up, he attacked.'' - Farrell on David Ortiz's game-winning homer.

* "There's no sign of him slowing down. Tonight is a prime example of it. Key moment, big hit when we need it. There's a long resume there and it's continuing to build.'' - Farrell on Ortiz's ability to deliver in the clutch.

* "There were some mechanical adjustments that I made. I came out a little erratic, trying to do too much, maybe focusing too much. But as game went on, I kind of got into a rhythm.'' - Owens on his start.

* "I saw him throw a lot of breaking pitches to Mookie. The one they hit stayed up a little longer than usual. He's the kind of pitcher that, if you go up there looking for everything he's got, you're done.'' - Ortiz on his game-winning homer off Dellin Betances.

NOTES:

* Over his career, David Ortiz has hit 29 go-ahead homers from the eighth inning on.

* Ortiz has eight homers in his last 24 games against the Yankees.

* The win was the first this season for the Red Sox in a game in which they were tied or trailing after seven innings.

* The Red Sox have won five of their last six and seven of their last 10.

* The Yankees have been limited to three runs or fewer in their last six games.

* In 21 games, the Yankees have faced 10 lefty starters; in 22 games, the Red Sox have faced two.

* Masahiro Tanaka has issued just one walk in his last three starts.

STARS:

1) David Ortiz

With one swing of the bat, Ortiz untied a 2-2 game in the bottom of the eighth with a game-winning two-run homer.

2) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley's penchant for delivering a big hit continued as he rapped a two-run double to left in the seventh to erase a 2-0 Yankee lead.

3) Masahiro Tanaka

He shut the Red Sox for six innings before allowing three hits and two runs in the seventh.

First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win: Ortiz has flair for the dramatic

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First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win: Ortiz has flair for the dramatic

First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win over New York Yankees...

* David Ortiz still has a flair for the dramatic.

Matched against Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, Ortiz cracked a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to snap a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning. Ortiz now has 18 RBI in 23 games -- he didn't start in four of those games - and at 40, remains the one hitter opposing teams want to face with the game on the line.

Before the homer, Ortiz was 0-for-7 against Betances, with four strikeouts.

* All things considered, Henry Owens did OK.

Owens didn't fool anybody. He couldn't command his fastball, and when the Yankees did hit it, they hit it pretty hard. He walked three and hit another. But Owens managed to limit the damage in a big way, allowing just two hits in six innings despite 10 baserunners.

Occasionally, he would get bailed out by his changeup, which seems to be the lone pitch he has that is better than average by major league standards.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to hit when it counts.

Bradley got the Red Sox offense going with a two-run, two-out double off Masahiro Tanaka, when the Sox were down to their final seven outs.

In the last week along, Bradley hit an extra-inning homer; a solo homer that represented the only run of the game; a ninth-inning triple; and Friday's big two-base hit.

That he has 10 RBI from the bottom of the order suggests he can provide some sock from that spot.

* Matt Barnes continues to make strides.

Since allowing a homer to Kevin Kiermaier on the last homestand, Barnes has allowed just one run in his last four appearances, covering 6 1/3 innings, while holding opposing hitters to a .208 batting average (5-for-24).

* The Yankees bullpen gets all the attention, but in relief of Owens, Barnes, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel faced nine hitters and retired them all.