Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Pedroia returns to Red Sox tonight

Posted by Bill Koch on August 17, 2010

Will the return of This Manager’s Little Cribbage Buddy be enough to help the Boston Red Sox make one final charge toward the 2010 postseason?

Pink Hat Nation will be holding its collective breath tonight and hoping that Dustin Pedroia can put one foot in front of the other for nine innings. Boston’s second baseman has been officially activated off the disabled list and will be in the lineup at Fenway Park when the Red Sox host the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim and Orange County and Wherever Else Arte Moreno Would Like to Claim in California.

Pedroia and fellow DL sufferer Kevin Youkilis are this team’s heart and soul, and Youkilis isn’t coming back this season after having thumb surgery. It’s going to be up to Pedroia, who cracked a bone when he smashed a foul ball off his left foot in San Francisco on July 26, to try to rally a team that is 5.5 games out of a postseason spot with just 43 to play. There’s very little chance that Boston can do much of anything to catch the New York Yankees or Tampa Bay Rays in that short a time frame, but Pedroia’s return at least brings the Red Sox a little closer to full strength. Boston went 23-21 without Pedroia and scored a full run less per game. Its team batting average dipped 20 points to .258 without him in the lineup. There’s no doubting the impact that a guy who won the American League Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in back-to-back seasons can have on a lineup.

Still, don’t expect Pedroia to fix everything. Daisuke Matsuzaka is still maddeningly inconsistent. John Lackey continues to be the biggest free agent bust in baseball this year — as we here at Ramble On told you he would be. The Red Sox bullpen takes on water by the day. Last time we checked, Pedroia doesn’t pitch the ball. He also doesn’t play on the left side of the infield, an area in which Marco Scutaro (15 errors in 114 games after committing 10 in 143 last year) and Adrian Beltre (16 errors in 115 games after averaging 13 per season from 2004-09) have combined to commit mayhem all year when faced with a ground ball.

We try to take the big picture view on this blog, and we hope Boston isn’t doing something foolish and allowing Pedroia to talk his way back into the lineup prematurely. We all know that This Manager can’t say no to his little favorite, but the cost of a mistake this time and another broken bone in Pedroia’s foot will mean up to eight months out of action. If the 2010 season is actually lost already, it would be a shame if the Red Sox got a head start on throwing away 2011 as well.

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