Dustin Pedroia wasn’t a mystery before Friday night. But what the Red Sox’ 2-0 loss to the Orioles did was offer a pretty powerful reminder of the second baseman’s reality. (For a complete recap of the game, click here.)

Dustin Pedroia winces in pain after being taken out by Manny Machado Friday night. (Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports)

Dustin Pedroia winces in pain after being taken out by Manny Machado Friday night. (Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports)

Dustin Pedroia wasn’t a mystery before Friday night. But what the Red Sox’ 2-0 loss to the Orioles did was offer a pretty powerful reminder of the second baseman’s reality. (For a complete recap of the game, click here.)

The minute that play — where Manny Machado slid into Pedroia in the eighth inning, leaving the second baseman on the ground in agony — was over, the importance of the player to the team came into light.

The pitcher, Joe Kelly, started yelling towards Machado. The player who threw the ball to Pedroia not quick enough to avoid Machado’s questionable slide, Xander Bogaerts, raced over, immediately showing his concern. The manager, John Farrell, sought retribution via some sort of umpire ruling. The infield coach, Brian Butterfield, continued his displeasure with the umpiring crew to the point of being ejected before the next half inning could get going.

And then there was the team, the Red Sox.

The Red Sox and Orioles don’t like each other. The managers don’t like each other. Machado is a ultra-talented, sometimes misguided player who, while seemingly sorry after his cleats had embedded themselves in the side of Pedroia’s surgically-repaired knee, was clearly the identified villain.

This happens in baseball. But this was Pedroia, and the visitors knew why that made it different. That’s why when the final out was made you had almost an entire Red Sox team (including manager and coaches) not immediately adjourn to their clubhouse, but instead stay parked in their positions, staring daggers out at the Orioles.

The symbolism of the guy who is often times all that is wrong with baseball (Machado) damaging the guy who is mostly all that is right is baseball (Pedroia) was not lost at this moment, or immediately after.

There was the fired up manager.

“He’s sore right now,” Farrell told reporters. “Had a chance to talk to him briefly after we came in. We’ll certainly re-evaluate him tomorrow for his availability but that probably could have been a whole lot worse from what we’re seeing right now in the training room. So extremely late slide and the argument at the time was that if the rule is in place to protect the middle infielder, then it didn’t work tonight. I know there’s a component to the rule that says he’s got to deliberately and willfully attempt a double play. When you’re cleaned out, beyond second base, and the runner never held second base completely, to me the rule failed tonight. … It was a late slide.”

There was the admiring young shortstop.

“It’s probably the main play I regret in my life right now,” an emotional Bogaerts told reporters. “Should have probably gone to first base right there or charged the ball. I probably had to do something different than I did so that had never happened.”

And, finally, came Pedroia.

You want a blueprint of how you might want the player to react to such a situation, you got it with what the hobbled second baseman offered the assembled media.

“Listen, man, I’ve turned double plays in the big leagues for 11 years. That’s my job. That’s not the first time I’ve been hit. It won’t be the last. It’s baseball, man.”

“I can’t speak for them. I just know what my job is. I signed up for that. That’s the way I look at it.”

I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the major leagues for 11 years. I don’t need the [expletive] rule, let’s be honest. The rule is irrelevant. The rule is for people with bad footwork, and that’s it.”

“I’m pissed we lost the game. My job is to get taken out and hang in there and turn double plays. That’s how you win games. I’m not mad. I’m mad we lost the game. We didn’t score any runs. That’s what I’m mad about.”

This story is hardly finished. Machado will most likely ultimately be retaliated against, and the the teams will continue their bad blood. But Chapter 1 was pretty important.

If anybody was looking for the face of this franchise, it could be found on the trainers table immediately after his team stared down the club that put him there.

“It was a hard slide. I saw he passed the base, if you’re asking me,” Bogaerts said. “He injured the leader on our team. It was tough seeing him walk off the field right there and obviously it was because of me.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

There was some question as to what the Red Sox might do to make room on the 25-man roster with Jackie Bradley Jr. back in the lineup. Options included sending Marco Hernandez back to the minor leagues, or demote Steve Selsky.

But, instead, the move involved Brock Holt.

The Red Sox announced the utilityman was headed to the 10-day disabled list due to a bout with vertigo.

There was some question as to what the Red Sox might do to make room on the 25-man roster with Jackie Bradley Jr. back in the lineup. Options included sending Marco Hernandez back to the minor leagues, or demote Steve Selsky.

But, instead, the move involved Brock Holt.

The Red Sox announced the utilityman was headed to the 10-day disabled list due to a bout with vertigo.

Holt is just 2-for-15 this season, drawing four walks in five games. He has started one game each at third base and left field, getting the nod in left for the Sox’ series finale in Toronto Thursday afternoon.

Bradley Jr., who is in the lineup for the series opener against the Orioles, went 1-for-5 with a home run in two rehab appearances for Triple-A Pawtucket. He had been placed on the 10-day DL on April 11, retroactive to April 9, after suffering a knee sprain in Detroit.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The sight of Xander Bogaerts heading down to the X-ray room at Rogers Centre after Thursday’s Red Sox’ win probably was a sign he might not be in the lineup Friday in Baltimore.

Xander Bogaerts (USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts (USA Today Sports)

The sight of Xander Bogaerts heading down to the X-ray room at Rogers Centre after Thursday’s Red Sox’ win probably was a sign he might not be in the lineup Friday in Baltimore.

Bogaerts had seemingly injured his hand sliding into second base while trying to stretch his two-out single into a double in the ninth inning against the Blue Jays. After the game, the shortstop said he was OK. But when lineups came out Friday afternoon, it was Marco Hernandez who got the start against the Orioles instead of Bogaerts.

The Red Sox do have a regular returning to the starting group, with Jackie Bradley Jr. coming off the 10-day disabled list (knee) after a two-game rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup against Baltimore righty Dylan Bundy on the mound for the hosts, and Drew Pomeranz pitching for the visitors:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Mookie Betts RF
Mitch Moreland 1B
Hanley Ramirez DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Marco Hernandez SS

For all Red Sox news, go to the team page by click here.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Each week, we will be picking the F.W. Webb “Coolest Play of the Week.” This week’s highlight is from Thursday afternoon, when the Red Sox headed to extra innings after Craig Kimbrel blew the save in the ninth. With the bases loaded in the top of the 10th, Mookie Betts cleared the bases with a double down the line that lifted the Sox to a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Watch the play below.

F.W._Webb_Company_logo200Enter to win the Coolest VIP Baseball Experience including the chance to watch batting practice and visit the WEEI Broadcast Booth at Fenway! Click here to enter to win.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Each week, we will be picking the F.W. Webb “Coolest Play of the Week.” This week’s highlight is from Thursday afternoon, when the Red Sox headed to extra innings after Craig Kimbrel blew the save in the ninth. With the bases loaded in the top of the 10th, Mookie Betts cleared the bases with a double down the line that lifted the Sox to a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Watch the play below.

F.W._Webb_Company_logo200Enter to win the Coolest VIP Baseball Experience including the chance to watch batting practice and visit the WEEI Broadcast Booth at Fenway! Click here to enter to win.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

After striking out all three batters he faced against the Rays Monday, Craig Kimbrel talked about the differences between last season and this one.

“I think last year I was battling through some things and maybe got in some bad habits,” he said. “Right now, everything feels great. Hopefully I can keep it going.”

Craig Kimbrel (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Craig Kimbrel (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

After striking out all three batters he faced against the Rays Monday, Craig Kimbrel talked about the differences between last season and this one.

“I think last year I was battling through some things and maybe got in some bad habits,” he said. “Right now, everything feels great. Hopefully I can keep it going.”

The immediate assumption was that Kimbrel was referencing his knee injury, the one that required midseason surgery and forced him to miss about a month.

Not so, according to the closer.

“I banged my finger up a little bit last year and it kind of got me into some bad habits, yanking the ball,” Kimbrel told WEEI.com.

As it turned out, the biggest issue for the reliever in his first season with the Red Sox was dealing with an injury to his right index finger, suffered while working out in late April.

“You’re going to adjust off of it. You can do that to a certain extent,” explained Kimbrel. “You have to in this game. You’re not going to feel the same every time out there. There are going to be times where you do one thing where you overcompensate for another thing, but over the course of a season you can into some bad habits doing that.”

It was a problem that those outside the clubhouse weren’t aware of, but the Red Sox had been keeping a close eye on.

“He obviously pitched with it,” said Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis. “But with pitchers, with hands and fingers, it doesn’t take a lot sometimes to cause you to change a little bit of pressure that alters the release of the ball. I think when you look at his strength and his power, he’s able to compensate. Obviously it’s a lot more natural where he’s at right now.”

“Knowing he was dealing with it, only he knows how much it was affecting him,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “There was constant checking in with him to make sure it wasn’t putting him in a position to create further discomfort or take away from his performance, overall. We knew it was there, but to his credit he never used it as a distraction more than it might have been.”

Ironically, Kimbrel points to his knee injury as somewhat of a blessing.

Not only did the time down allow for the finger to properly heal, but gave the closer a chance to breakdown the bad habits he had fallen into partly because of the ailment.

“It did [help with the finger]. And the time with my knee really helped me heal mentally, as well,” he said. “We looked into what I was doing wrong. We were making sure my knee was healthy, but we also made sure my mechanics were going in the right direction.

“We looked at release points and yanking the ball. It was just something I did all year. Not to say I won’t have some games where I won’t do it this year, it’s just trusting my stuff and so far I’ve done that.”

What Kimbrel has been delivering this season is undeniably more powerful than what had been a somewhat up and down 2016 campaign.

Yes, he did blow his first save Thursday when allowing a second-pitch home run to Kendrys Morales in Toronto. But the fact he struck out five of his next six batters offered more proof of why Farrell trusted him to follow up Chris Sale in the first place.

Kimbrel has now faced 34 batters and struck out exactly half of them, walking just two along the way.

Thanks in part to a finger that works properly, and a year under his belt in Boston, the Red Sox have clearly found themselves an improved game-ender.

“We just dealt with it. There was nothing we could do about it,” Kimbrel said of the finger.

“Anything that happened last year I can’t go back and change it. Going into this year, I know there are going to be new obstacles. That’s part of the game. I’m just trying to enjoy each day I’ve got for what it is and not really worry about the other stuff. I have to worry about today and this year. I can’t get caught up in what happened last year, going out and trying to prove anything. All I can do is show up, play ball and do what I can do.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford